Public Health Emergency Declared Over Drinking Water in Northeastern Louisiana

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Here’s what happens to our drinking water when we don’t regulate and enforce our laws. The Regulatory Accountability Act would make this situation immeasurably worse:

For years, the mostly poor, mostly black, rural seat of Tensas Parish in northeastern Louisiana has struggled with aging infrastructure and deteriorating water quality. The system is plagued with leaks. Often, what flows from households’ taps is brown and smelly, the result of high levels of iron and manganese, and residents have grown accustomed to regular notices to boil their water.

But it recent weeks, the problems have deepened significantly.

In mid-December, the state’s governor declared a public health emergency there after tests showed elevated lead levels in a private residence and at City Hall. Health officials now say they have detected lead levels exceeding the federal “action level” of 15 parts per billion in nearly 100 of the town’s homes and businesses — or more than 20 percent of those tested.

Residents, who have been told to steer clear of their taps, are living off bottled water provided by the state. And while lawmakers have set aside funding for much of the estimated $8 million it will take to fix the town’s pipes, change won’t come quickly.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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