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Salt water enters drinking water in Louisiana

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Nov19,2023

For months, thousands of southeast Louisiana residents have relied on bottled water for drinking and cooking because tap water is become salty. In question, water from the Gulf of Mexico which entered the Mississippi.

Salt water is entering drinking water in Louisiana

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The race to help slow the flow of saltwater intrusion into the drought-stricken Mississippi River continues in Louisiana

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The Mississippi River, stretching more than 3,700 miles, is one of the most important commercial waterways in the world.

This giant is also the source of water supply for millions of Americans in the southern United States. But since June, an intruder has entered the south of New Orleans: salt from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Naturally, salt water wants to move through the riverbed, says Ricky Boyett, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the New Orleans District. What prevents him is the force of the river going down. [The river water] has more force and speed than the salt water coming up.

The problem is is that with the drought of recent months, the flow of the Mississippi has lost its strength, opening the door to salt water in a region, moreover, located below sea level.

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Ricky Boyett, spokesperson for the US Army Corps of engineers in front of the Mississippi River

In Buras, in Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, Catherine Vodopija says she is experiencing the direct impacts of this intrusion of salt water into the municipal system. Hair loss, itchy skin, bad smell in the water, Catherine Vodopija can no longer cope with this problem.

She also tests her water every day, unable to trust the local authorities. And the results hardly encourage him to drink water from the municipal system. When you brush your teeth and have to spit out the water because it's so disgusting, that's not normal, she says. It's just mind blowing that until the water started coming up the river, no one really cared about what was happening down below.

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Catherine Vodopija carries out water tests every day because she does not trust local authorities who claim that municipal water is now without danger.

She in fact criticizes the local authorities for having only taken the problem head on when the greater region of La Nouvelle- Orléans was threatened by this salt water intrusion.

Faced with the emergency situation, the federal authorities then proceeded to raise the underwater dike used to block or slow down the flow of water. x27;salt water.

The river where we are building the wall is 27 meters deep, explains Ricky Boyett. Our wall is now 10 meters high. In addition to this underwater wall, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, millions of liters of fresh water are delivered by barge to water filtration facilities located in the affected areas.

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Millions of liters of fresh water are barged around water filtration plants near areas affected by salt intrusion.

In his Belle Chasse office, Keith Hinckley, the mayor of Plaquemines Parish, acknowledges that the situation was critical a few weeks ago. He says he has spent $26 million so far trying to stem the crisis. Of the 25,000 residents, he said, only 3,000 are still affected by the problem.

Since the work, the intrusion of salt into the river moved back. Which makes the mayor of Plaquemines say that the problem is solved and he maintains that the water that residents receive in the south of the parish now is drinkable.

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Pamela Lenormand, owner of a popular restaurant in Empire, in southern New Orleans, believes that local authorities have abandoned residents south of the underwater dike

Pamela Lenormand, the owner of a popular restaurant located in Empire, which is far from the famous protective wall, does not believe it for a single second. She had to replace her restaurant's ice maker, which was corroded by salt water.

She believes that the feeling of abandonment is strong among residents and traders located south of the raised dike. This has been going on here for months, she laments. They installed this big reverse osmosis machine to treat the water, but it's not even connected to the network. I have my daughter here with me at the restaurant, her skin, her hair, her scalp, you know? All his problems are because of the use of this water.

According to her tests, Catherine Vodopija sees that the salinity of the water in her business is too high. Not to mention the other problems detected in his water samples. The cause, according to her, is the work to raise the underwater dike which stirred up the sediments in the bed of the Mississippi River. They're digging up things that haven't been touched in decades. So, are they stirring up even more nefarious things? We therefore do not know what this water contains.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Even though he believes that drought is not a result of climate change, but rather caused by a cycle, Keith Hinckley admits that his region must expect a recurring problem which will affect the water of the river.

The first installation he plans to tackle to implement reverse osmosis is therefore a water treatment plant in the most affected region and the construction of infrastructure located in the center of the parish in order to be able to transport water to its southern end. I would like them to trust me, sighs the mayor.

A wish which, for the moment, still does not find an echo in the parish of Plaquemines, where many bottles of water are still used in everyday life.

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The intrusion of salt water into the Mississippi River towards New Orleans has caused quite a stir in Louisiana.

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  • Natasha Kumar

    By Natasha Kumar

    Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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