Official: Vidalia water is pink, but still safe

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 4, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Vidalia utility customers are not used to getting discolored water — and certainly not pink water.

But that is what they got when they turned on their faucets early Monday morning.

The good news, said water plant operator Johnny Minor, is that the water was safe to drink.

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&uot;The worst that could happen is that it would discolor a few clothes in the wash,&uot;&160;said Minor, who was at the plant Monday correcting the problem.

What caused the discoloration was that the level of permanganate was slightly higher than usual, Minor said.

Permanganate is a chemical used to neutralize high levels of manganese in the town’s well water.

Permanganate levels were readjusted Monday morning, and the last of the discolored water was out of the town’s water system early that afternoon.

While cotton candy-colored water is a new twist, high levels of manganese are nothing new to Concordia Parish.

High levels of manganese have caused the water Ferriday gets from Old River to often be brown and smelly since that town opened its current water plant in 1988.

The problem would become most noticeable when the water level of Old River was at its lowest, causing higher concentrations of manganese in the water.

Ferriday residents and business owners have said the quality of the town’s water is better this year, a fact many attribute to improvements made to the plant last year.

Those improvements had to be made for the Louisiana Office of Public Health, in late December, to lift a boil-water notice that had been in effect for the town for more than four months.

Meanwhile on Monday, more serious problems loomed for customers of Concordia Waterworks District No. 1, which serves more than 8,000 customers in unincorporated Concordia Parish.

As of Monday, that system’s customers were still being advised not to water their lawns or gardens, fill their pools or wash their cars in order to conserve water.

That system has faced near-record water demand this summer due to near-drought conditions.