The quality of finished water and river water is tested daily at the Water Quality Laboratory of the Sewerage and Water Board by a staff of highly trained chemists, microbiologists and technicians . Samples of drinking water from various points in the distribution system are also analyzed for chemical and microbial parameters at regularly scheduled times.
Water Quality Parameters:
Parameters such as pH, alkalinity, hardness, fluoride, etc. are monitored so that the water treatment chemical dosages can be adjusted according to changes in river water quality and to help assure that the finished water quality is maintained.
Bacteriological monitoring for coliforms is carried out on finished water and river water daily. Samples are collected monthly for Cryptosporidium testing.
Each day the concentration of trihalomethanes is measure in the finished water. The total amount of trihalomethanes is usually between 0.010 and 0.025 ppm and is always maintained well below the 0.080 ppm allowed by the EPA.
Samples of river water and finished water are analyzed daily for volatile organic compounds.
Screening of river water and finished water for commonly used herbicides is performed monthly (or weekly during times when herbicide concentrations may be highest). In the years since this screening began, the running annual averages observed have always been found to be below the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) set by the EPA.
The Sewerage and Water Board participates in two major multi-agency programs to protect the water supply for all consumers along the lower Mississippi River. The Lower Mississippi River Water Works Warning Network functions to alert all downstream water intakes of any reported or sighted spills into the river so that the most effective countermeasures can be carried out. The Early Warning Organic Compound Detection System consists of sophisticated analytical instrumentation at eight locations along the river between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. At the Sewerage and Water Board laboratory location, samples from the river are analyzed daily for volatile organic compounds.