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After a rare brain-eating amoeba was found in the St. Bernard Parish water system, Plaquemines and St. Charles parishes are increasing measures to ensure the safety of their water supplies, while Orleans Parish officials assured residents that its water supply is safe.

In Plaquemines Parish, officials have submitted a request to the state to have its water system tested, according to parish offiicials.

'Parish employees will flush our water lines this weekend and we will take every precaution necessary to ensure that the water in Plaquemines Parish is safe for our residents. There is no reason to believe that we have a problem with our water,' Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said.

'The steps we are taking are purely precautionary measures.'

As the parish flushes the water system, Plaquemines officials said, residents may see open fire hydrants; it is a part of flushing process and is not a cause for concern.

Officials from New Orleans issued a statement on the safety of the city's water supply:

'The Sewerage and Water Board is constantly monitoring the status of New Orleans' water supply. New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish have completely separate potable water systems; and there is no cause for concern for New Orleans residents. The Sewerage and Water Board is providing assistance to DHH in their efforts to address this event,' said Garnesha Crawford, Director of Communications for Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

In St. Charles Parish, personnel at the Waterworks treatment plant are increasing the sampling of the parish's water system to ensure its safety.

'Effective disinfection is the main method of control against the amoeba. This includes maintaining continuous disinfection residuals throughout the water distribution system. St. Charles Parish routinely monitors chlorine residuals at 77 locations throughout the system, from very near the plant to the end of the line and in between,' St. Charles Parish authorities said in a statement.

According to St.Charles Parish officials, the additional samples are being taken as a precautionary measure, and information provided by officials of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals have indicated that in addition to proper chlorination of a water system, overall operation and maintenance is critical in preventing and/or eliminating this threat from the drinking water supply.

St. Bernard Parish Government has set up a recorded message which provides information on precautionary measures suggested by the Center for Disease Control. Residents can contact 504-278-4251 to hear personal actions that will help reduce the risk of Naegleria fowleri (Amoeba) infection.

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