BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Fear, confusion and concern.
Those are some of the emotions for many residents living in south Bossier City as they try to make sense of the positive test for a brain-eating amoeba in the city’s water system.
Now neighboring water systems in Sligo and Benton are taking precautions as well, conducting their own chlorine burns.
A chlorine burn is well underway in Bossier City, along with nearly double the water testing scheduled in an effort to resolve the issue.
City officials opened the Bossier City water treatment plant to the media a day after the first positive test ever in the city for naegleria fowleri, or brain-eating amoeba.
The microscopic, single-cell organism was first detected last week at the neighboring Sligo water system, triggering state testing this week.
“The tests that were run here, I think there were five total that the DHH pulled. It was that one, that one site that came back positive,” Bossier City spokeswoman Traci Landry explained.
That one and only positive result came nearest the Sligo system - on Bluebell Drive in the southern part of Bossier City’s water system.
While a low level of chlorine is the short answer given for the positive test, it doesn’t solve the mystery of why only now and why only there.
“We’re looking at those lines in that area. Of course, that’s where we’re going to start,” Landry said.
As officials search for answers, Landry said the public is urged to take their own precautions, most notably not allowing tap water into your nose.
“It’s still okay to drink and ingest into your stomach. But it’s that direct contact that becomes an issue.”
The state requires six weeks for the extra steps and precautions.
But Bossier City officials say they will extend it another two weeks to make it a full 60 days of efforts and testing to help guarantee the amoeba never resurfaces in Bossier City.
By then, they hope to have a much clearer picture of how this problem started.