Some changes are coming to the City of Shreveport's water system.  Beginning Monday, January 6th, the city will begin utilizing a free chlorine burn out. 

This entails feeding free chlorine, instead of chloramines -- chlorine combined with ammonia -- as the disinfectant at the water treatment plant and its storage tanks.

The city will use this method for 30 to 45 days to clean the system.  This is in response to the emergency order issued by the Department of Health and Hospitals as a way to ensure that there are no issues in the system with the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which has been found in water systems throughout Louisiana, including DeSoto Parish.

City officials say there have been no instances of the parasite in Shreveport's system, nor has the system operated at disinfection levels below the new guidelines proposed in the order.  This is just an additional cautionary step.

The Department of Water and Sewerage provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about free chlorine burn outs and their purpose:

· What are the possible noticeable effects?

There are no associated health risks to the process. During these efforts to improve water quality, there will be times of lower water pressure, possible odor and taste or small rust particles in the water. The city will attempt to flush the particles, color and odor from the mains with directional flushing; however, there is a possibility that some of the color and odor will get into customer lines.

· Is my water safe to drink?

Yes, the City of Shreveport is dedicated to making sure the water is safe to drink and will monitor disinfectant levels continually during the burn out. If you experience an odor or taste in your water, it does not mean it is unsafe to drink. Odors are caused by the free chlorine disinfectant cleansing the system. Nuisance issues will go away as the work is completed.

· Why is this burn out necessary?

Monthly, the City routinely flushes the lines, as well as collects samples and monitors the water quality. Our staff is tasked with ensuring that water in all points of the system is acceptable to our customers. Over time minerals and metals, which are naturally present in water sources, can increase and attach to pipes and release when there are changes in pressure, resulting in discoloration or affected taste. Other processes such as nitrification and the growth of biofilm can also occur in water distribution pipes. The biofilm growth can cause a reduction in the effectiveness of residual disinfectants over time. This free chlorine burn out will help cleanse the lines, reduce the occurrence of nitrification and biofilm, and ensure that we provide quality water for the citizens of Shreveport.

Contact the department at 673-7660 if you have any other questions or concerns.

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