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Water monitoring system changed but safety not at risk - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Water monitoring system changed but safety not at risk

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Each water system in Louisiana is responsible for turning in samples for testing each month. Each water system in Louisiana is responsible for turning in samples for testing each month.
SHREVEPORT, La. -

A year ago this month, who tested your water changed from state professionals to the people who run each water system all because of budget cuts.

The Office of Public Health said safety has not suffered despite this self-reporting system.

"A year later we're doing it," said Jennifer Kihlken, Office of Public Health's water district engineer for north Louisiana. "They're getting their samples in, labs getting them analyzed, getting them over to us to look at the results to make a determination about compliance."

According to the Office of Public Health's records, approximately 1,500 samples were collected a month in north Louisiana by state sanitarians with the old method. Now, the water systems are turning in about the same amount of samples, 1,500 a month.

Under the new system, Blanchard Utilities designated one of its 30 employees to take all of the water samples.

"It takes us a little more than an hour and a half a week for the guy to take the samples and carry them to the health department," explained David Yeates. "And it really didn't affect us that much."

Yeates is in charge of Blanchard's water system, and said the system and its budget is large enough to absorb the costs of the extra work.

"They did offer training for the staff to be able to pull samples and transport the samples properly to the OPH to get the testing done," he said.

The number of samples turned in for testing can go up with more boil advisories issued. During the state's fiscal year July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto and Webster parishes had a total of 116 boil advisories. There were only 89 boil advisories for the same parishes during the 2012-2013 time period. Kihlken does not believe it is because of the new system.

"We think it went down because over the past several years we've been hitting the 100 degree mark in temperatures earlier in the summer," explained Kihlken. "June has been hot, July's been hot, but this summer, we've had a much nicer summer."

Even though the new system is more work for the Blanchard water system, Yeates said he likes his people taking the samples.

"It's good for us on the stand point of quality control," he said. "We know that we pulled a good sample. If you were to do it for yourself, you know you're going to do it right. It's a quality control thing."

To see how your water system is doing, click here. Click your parish, then find your water system.

 


 Related Article: Boil Advisories Prevalent In Arklatex In The Past Year

 

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