BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana health officials Saturday lifted a notice advising people in the small town of Donaldsonville not to drink the water after tests determined it was safe to drink.
Residents in the small town of about 10,000 people southeast of Baton Rouge were advised Tuesday not to drink the water after an inspection showed the possibility it contained chlorine dioxide levels four to five times above national guidelines.
The state said exposure to elevated levels of the chemical can cause serious health effects to the nervous systems of some infants, young children and the fetuses of pregnant women.
The state's top health officer, Dr. Jimmy Guidry, said Thursday that the state had approved a plan by the privately run Peoples Water Service Co. that supplies water to the town to begin disinfecting with a different chemical — chlorine instead of chlorine dioxide. It was expected to take two to three days to implement the plan and do needed testing.
Guidry said the "do not drink" advisory was issued out of an "abundance of caution." He said an initial test by the company showing the elevated chlorine dioxide level was not properly followed up with more tests.
The Department of Health and Hospitals said in a news release Saturday that they had taken five samples at different sites and all showed the water was safe to drink.
Water distribution points in the town, which had been providing residents with drinking water, were being closed, Mayor Leroy J. Sullivan Sr. said in a news release posted on the town's website.