St. Tammany Parish Councilman Jake Groby has been one of the strongest opponents to fracking in St. Tammany Parish. This “water expert” has claimed that fracking will harm the drinking water of the parish.
His day job is that he runs the quality control for St. Bernard Parish’s water and sewage system. In that capacity, he just got some bad news from DHH. The drinking water in St. Bernard Parish has tested positive for brain-eating ameba.
Late Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) confirmed the presence of the Naegleria fowleri ameba in the St. Bernard Parish Water System at the site of a leaking sampling station. The water system, which serves 44,000 residents in St. Bernard Parish, was tested by DHH as part of the State’s new public drinking water surveillance program. DHH notified the water system and local officials Wednesday evening. The Department asked the water system to conduct a 60-day chlorine burn to ensure that any remaining ameba in the system are eliminated. Parish President Dave Peralta confirmed that the system would conduct the burn out of an abundance of caution.
Based on current monthly chloramine residual compliance reports, the water system has met the requirements with Louisiana rules for chloramine disinfectant levels set forth by the 2013 by emergency rule and additional requirements in 2014 by the Louisiana Legislature. Five other sites on the system tested negative for the ameba and one site did not meet the required level of disinfectant.
Tap water in St. Bernard Parish is safe for residents to drink, but the Department urges residents to avoid getting water in their noses. Naegleria fowleri is an ameba that occurs naturally in freshwater.
This is not the first time Groby’s water system has tested positive for the ameba. It tested positive for the ameba in 2013. Jake Groby’s knowledge of water quality may not actually keep St. Bernard residents safe, but it sure feeds unscientific hysteria in St. Tammany Parish.
Groby’s grandstanding on this and other issues has earned him a couple of well-deserved opponents in October. St. Tammany voters should take this opportunity to make a change.