The City of Shreveport Water & Sewerage Department sent notices last week stating "the Shreveport Water was recently in violation of the treatment technique requirements for turbidity as set forth in the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (40 CFR Part 141)." 

What is Turbidity?

So, your first question might be, "What is turbidity?"  Well, according to

Turbidity is the measure of relative clarity of a liquid. It is an optical characteristic of water and is a measurement of the amount of light that is scattered by material in the water when a light is shined through the water sample. The higher the intensity of scattered light, the higher the turbidity. Material that causes water to be turbid include clay, silt, very tiny inorganic and organic matter, algae, dissolved colored organic compounds, and plankton and other microscopic organisms.

Basically, it's cloudy water.  This incident actually took place back on October 26th, when "the water treatment plant experienced a brief operational period when pH adjusting chemicals were insufficient to adjust raw water chemistry."  In reality, the situation sounds much worse than it is.

Mike Martindale/TSM
Mike Martindale/TSM

So What Happened?

Shreveport Water & Sewerage Director William Daniel told KEEL News on Monday morning:

There are rules with the Department of Health on the turbidity levels that we can allow, and we exceeded it for fifteen minutes... just barely.  So, under the rules, we're required to notify everybody on the water system that we did that.

Daniel explained the process of removing turbidity from the water supply:

We get our water from the lake, and it has... things in it. So what we do is take those things out.  People laugh at me when I say, 'we make good water.' And they go, like, 'What to you mean you make water?'  Well, we actually make it, we take the water from the lake, and actually lake water is much better than river water, cause river water has a lot more solids in it than the lake does, because it's relatively calm and those solids fall out, whereas the river carries those solids with it all the time.... the water was tested months ago, and it was never a violation of how clean, or how healthy our water is.  It was sort of a technical violation.  We're doing some work out at the water plant to improve the overall water system, and we think that some of the construction interfered with our water making process.  We've since resolved all of that.... We have inline monitors for turbidity, so we're always checking it constantly as the water is being made.  And we noticed that it went up, and we took actions to make it go back down, but during one fifteen minute period we barely eclipsed the maximum that we can be... but we barely eclipsed it.

Bottom line is, citizens were not in danger, and a boil alert was not necessary.  According the the notification, " This is not an emergency.  There was no indication of any contamination, as none of our testing has shown disease-causing organisms in the drinking water."

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