DOH: More than 50 boil water advisories issued statewide

January 18, 2018 - 2:46 pm

Michelle Southern reporting. 

Water pressure has become a concern across Louisiana in the wake of the recent arctic blast, which has prompted some parishes to issue boil water advisories. So why does this happen? Louisiana Department of Health Chief Engineer Amanda Laughlin says when a hard freeze event takes place, pipes burst and there are an extremely high number of line breaks.

"And often customers will run their water for an extended period of time, and the system just can not handle that dramatic change in pressure," said Laughlin. "So they issue a boil advisory as a precaution in case there is a contamination event."

Laughlin says there are nearly 50 boil advisories posted in the state right now, and that number is expected to go up. She says if your house is under a boil water advisory, it's important to follow the order because when pressure is low, bacteria could potentially enter the distribution system.

"When your system is under the proper amount of pressure it keeps things out," said Laughlin. "But when you lose pressure it allows things in."

Laughlin says the advisories are only a precaution in case something has entered the system that could potentially make you sick. She says it's still okay to shower and bathe in the water, but any water you ingest should first be boiled.

"Same thing with washing dishes if you hand wash, you don't want to use water that hasn't been boiled," she says. "But you can use your dishwasher that reaches high temperatures."

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