‘No point’ to Ferriday water test

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 18, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – Ferriday residents want to know what is in their water, but they’ll have to wait until the plant is functioning properly to find out.

Even though the state Office of Public Health typically tests six samples each month, the office is not currently testing the town’s water for bacteria, specifically coliform bacteria.

Michael Cazes of the state department’s Alexandria office said there is no reason to test for the bacteria until the plant is functioning properly.

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&uot;Until then, there’s no point,&uot;&160;said Douglas Vincent, director of the state’s State Drinking Water Program.

The town remains under a boil water notice and people should not be drinking the water anyway until the notice is lifted, Cazes said.

&uot;You wouldn’t drink out of a puddle or a lake because of the potential health risk of untreated water,&uot;&160;Cazes said. &uot;This water is also potentially contaminated … until the plant is operating correctly.&uot;

The plant tested positive for coliform bacteria on July 13, and the Office of Public Health sent a noncompliance order the plant.

But samples taken on July 17 and Aug. 10 all came back negative for the bacteria, said Mack McDonald, head sanitarian for the Concordia Parish Health Unit.

A boil water notice has been in effect for Ferriday since Aug. 20, when the plant kept shutting down. The plant is taking samples of its water every morning and evening to check its turbidity, or clarity. When the turbidity level is 0.5 or below for three straight days, the state will consider lifting the notice, provided the plant is also properly chlorinating its water and a further test of its water comes back negative. Until then, customers should still not use unboiled Ferriday water for anything but bathing and flushing toilets, Cazes said.