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Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

ST. JOHN, La. - Bottled water has become part of Roz Brady's daily routine after the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced last week it found a brain eating amoeba in her area's water supply.

'We're using bottled water for just about everything we do,' said Brady.

Neighbors are nervous, though St. John the Baptist Parish officials say the water is safe to drink, bathe in and cook with, and the danger comes from inhaling it through your nose. Now, a state emergency order requires the parish to increase chlorine levels for 60 days to kill the deadly amoeba.

For Brady, that's just another concern.

'I have health issues, and taking a bath in tap water with the chlorine in it is not an option for me,' she said.

And while neighbors say water issues are affecting their quality of life, state police have launched an investigation into apparent inconsistencies with the parish reports of water quality and DHH findings.

DHH asked state police to conduct the investigation. DHH officials have said independent testing shows chlorine levels fell below state standards to levels in which the amoeba could grow.

'Maybe this was just a management issue or some procedures that were not being followed correctly, or perhaps some sort of criminal act, some sort of fraudulent report or criminal negligence there,' said Trooper Nick Manale, State Police spokesman. 'There was a significant enough inconsistency between these two reports that it caused some concern from DHH officials, and enough concern for us to come in and evaluate it.'

In a news conference Tuesday, St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom admitted there were inconsistencies, but said they weren't the result of intentional wrongdoing.

She said when initial tests showed chlorine levels were too low, parish employees flushed the water until it reached state standards, .5 parts per million, then submitted those results to the state.

'Sometimes we get caught up in record keeping and making sure that that .5 is on the paper, and may have missed the point that the goal was to have a .5 throughout your system,' said Robottom. 'We have cooperated fully with the Department of Health and Hospitals, and actually gone above and beyond their recommendations.'

Meanwhile, those like Brady say they won't feel comfortable using what comes out of their tap until the amoeba is taken care of.

Manale said it is unclear how long the investigation will take.

The issue affects more than 12,500 people in St. John Parish District 1, which includes Reserve, Garyville, and Mt. Airy.

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