DONALDSONVILLE — The appearance last month of a brain-eating amoeba in an Ascension Parish water system will be the topic of a community meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
State Department of Health and Hospitals officials will be on-hand for the meeting called by state Sen. Troy Brown, D-Geismar, to talk about Naegleria fowleri found in the Ascension Consolidated Utilities District No. 1 water system.
Since the discovery July 28, parish government officials were ordered and have instituted a 60-day chlorine burn to eliminate the amoeba. Parish President Tommy Martinez asserted in a Parish Council meeting Thursday that the amoeba has already been eliminated due to the burn, though formal testing by DHH is not expected to be conducted until after the burn is complete.
Parish officials have said since the burn was instituted, chlorine levels have reached twice what is mandated by the state.
Due to the small number of customers and long distances traveled by the district’s water lines, the parish has had trouble maintaining chlorine levels known to kill the amoeba.
The district’s system does not serve the city of Donaldsonville, which is supplied by the private company Peoples Water Service Co., but it does supply the rural outskirts of Donaldsonville, including the community of Modeste, where the amoeba had been found at a single testing location.
Three deaths in Louisiana have been attributed to amoeba since 2011.
Parish officials have said the district’s water is safe to drink but have warned residents about getting the water up their noses. The amoeba can access the brain that way and inflict potentially fatal damage.
In addition to Brown, DHH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert, DHH State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry and a representative from the state Department of Environmental Quality will be at the meeting at the George R. Blum Community Center, 1501 Saint Patrick St., Donaldsonville.
The meeting is expected to last until 7:30 p.m.
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