Amoeba update: DeSoto water system flush under way

Amoeba update: DeSoto water system flush under way

DESOTO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - DeSoto Parish officials say the water is safe to drink in spite of the confirmation of a deadly brain-eating amoeba earlier this week, but many in the community are still skeptical.

The Naegleria Fowleri amoeba was confirmed Tuesday in Water Works District 1, prompting the district to flush the system by adding straight chlorine. "We're taking every precaution that we can," says Water Works District 1 Administrator John Neilson. "People will start to notice a little bit stronger taste of chlorine in their water, but that is not harmful."

Neilson says they'll be injecting the chlorine into different parts of the parish "to get that real strong punch."

For many residents, adding that extra punch to their drinking water is adding more concern, even though officials say the extra chlorine is safe to drink. "Chlorine, chloramines are used to disinfect water systems across the country, we're exposed to them everyday" Mark Ryan, Director of Louisiana Poison Center, says.

"I've heard them say that it's okay but to be honest, I'm still a little bit leery about that," says Denise Hamil.

"If the water was not safe to drink, we'd have it turned off," Neilson says.

Neilson says most people will start to notice the effects of that chlorine on Saturday. Those effects include: a higher smell of chlorine in water, a stronger taste of chlorine in drinking water, and a slight discoloration of the water.

Neilson says the effects are a good thing and means that the pure chlorine is working to eliminate the amoebas.

Since the amoeba enters the brain through the nose, keeping your head out of the water and the water out of your nose tops the list of safety precautions suggested by health officials.

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