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BELLE CHASSE, La. - Plaquemines Parish has issued a drinking water advisory after levels of sodium in the water have been raised due to the salt water wedge moving up the Mississippi River.

A parish spokeswoman said the current amount of sodium in the water makes it a secondary contaminant, meaning that it is NOT considered a health threat, but could affect the taste, smell and color of the water.

The parish said that the EPA does not classify sodium as a primary or secondary contaminant, but individuals who are on a low-sodium diet for other health reasons such as high blood pressure or kidney diseases should pay special attention to sodium levels in their drinking water.

The sodium levels found in the Parish's drinking water ranged from 60 mg/L to 200 mg/L. EPA recommends that drinking-water sodium not exceed 20 mg/L for individuals on a very low sodium diet (500 mg/day). Individuals who are on these diets should consider the sodium level of their drinking water as part of their daily intake, and should check with their doctor or health care provider for specific guidance about how much sodium per day is appropriate for them to consume.

The Department of Health and Hospitals recommends that people receiving drinking water through systems in this parish that are on dialysis and/or low-sodium diets check with their health care providers related to the levels of chloride and sodium in their drinking water.

Plaquemines Parish says it is actively monitoring the situation and is investigating possible ways to lower the sodium and chloride levels.

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