Peoples Water Company responds to violations notice from DHH

Peoples Water Company responds to violations notice from DHH

DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - There are new details on the contaminated water that was discovered in Donaldsonville back in March.

WAFB obtained a copy of a violations notice sent by Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to Peoples Water Company, the local water supplier with 10,000 customers.

Carroll Aucoin, the facilities manager for Peoples Water Company, said that "Company's working with the government agencies. In other words, we're
doing everything to get to the bottom of it."

The 16-page document said that during an inspection of drinking water done in March, health officers found high levels of a chlorine dioxide, a chemical used as a disinfectant that could lead to health problems in high concentrations.

In one test, the DHH said the concentration was seven times the allowable level. DHH put Donaldsonville on an alert for nearly a week as residents could not drink their water or cook with it.

When asked if he denied the report that there were high concentrations of chlorine dioxide, Carroll said "absolutely."

The notice also lists nine other alleged violations, including that required disinfection tests were not being conducted and properly licensed operators were not present at all times.

The company must now meet new requirements set by DHH.

"We've worked with them to say these are the things you should be doing, and you have to document it and show us you're doing it," said Dr.
Jimmy Guidry, DHH's state health officer.

The company has 60 days to meet all the requirements. If they don't, they could face fines of up to $3,000 per day.

"My ultimate hope is that we don't have a repeat performance of what we found. So that's the importance of having these surveys, going in and making sure water systems are meeting all the requirements," Guidry said.

The Peoples Water Company can appeal the findings and ask for a hearing. Aucoin would not say if he was going to ask for such a hearing.

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