Two Ameba Instances Prompt Morrell to Call for State Action
BATON ROUGE (Oct. 9, 2013) – Senator Jean Paul “JP” Morrell (LA District 3), whose senate district includes St. Bernard Parish, sent the following letter to Governor Jindal calling for State action to ensure the safety of municipal water supplies.
Letter from Sen. Morrell to Gov. Jindal:
October 9, 2013
Honorable Bobby Jindal
900 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Sadly, we learned today that naegleria fowleri ameba was found in five locations in DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1. As you are aware, this deadly braineating ameba was previously found in the water system of St. Bernard Parish after the tragic death of a four year old boy who came in contact with the water while playing on a SlipNSlide.
The presence of the ameba in both DeSoto and St. Bernard parishes causes grave concern. There seems to be no singular variable to explain the existence of this deadly ameba in these two disparate environments.
This public health issue has created concern and panic, and it has undermined public confidence in government’s ability to perform one of its most basic functions- the delivery of safe drinking water to homes.
It is imperative that we address this issue head on and do everything possible to take immediate steps to address this serious health issue that may threaten our entire state. I appreciate the efforts of the Department of Health and Hospitals in regard to these two affected areas, but the concern regarding this issue has expanded beyond the scope of those two parishes.
To that end, I request that you use your executive authority to:
- Immediately request the Department of Health and Hospitals test every public water system in the state in regard to chlorine residuals;
- Immediately require, through the Department of Health and Hospitals, all parishes increase their chlorination beyond the current “trace” levels and to maintain a higher minimal residual chlorine level as recommended by the department, the Center for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency; and
- In areas where naegleria fowleri has been detected, run public service announcements and host community meetings to provide detailed information to residents regarding the ameba, the safety chloride “burns”, and symptom information regarding primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), so our constituents can make informed decisions regarding safety and to demonstrate transparency in this process.
It is my intention next legislative session to impose a permanent increase in chloride levels across the state until a comprehensive review of our water systems is complete. The new level should be determined by the Department of Health and Hospitals, the Center for Disease Control, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
We both love this great state and the people who live in it. Unfortunately, this entire situation creates an incredible amount of negative publicity about our nation’s “Sportsman’s Paradise”. It is important that we deal with this situation swiftly and decisively to reaffirm our commitment to protect the people that depend on our leadership.
Senator JP Morrell
Louisiana State Senate, District 3