Safe water bill advances

A state Senate panel Tuesday approved legislation prompted by three deaths related to contaminated water supplies last fall.

State Sen. J.P. Morrell said the legislation would set a “quality baseline for municipal water systems so this will never happen again.”

The deaths came as a result of a rare brain-eating amoeba that turned up in water supplies in St. Bernard and DeSoto parishes.

“It’s the minimal required of anywhere else in the world,” said Morrell, D-New Orleans.

Morrell’s Senate Bill 75 would establish the minimum amount of chlorine to be used in water treatment. The standard would be at least 0.1 parts per million.

“It’s undetectable for someone drinking the water,” he said.

The amoeba cannot be contracted by drinking water. When infections occur, the water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose and is pushed into the brain.

The bill now moves to the full Senate for debate.