- Associated Press - Saturday, August 9, 2014

FORT POLK, La. (AP) - Fort Polk officials say an “aggressive and comprehensive” effort is ongoing to ensure the safety and quality of its water supply.

The Town Talk of Alexandria reports (https://townta.lk/VaWK6c ) that the Army base’s announcement comes after testing last year revealed levels of lead and copper that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water standards in some samples of residential tap water at Fort Polk.

In a statement released to The Town Talk this week, Fort Polk officials said American Water, the private company that manages the base’s water systems, has taken steps to find the problems and insure they don’t happen again.

Lead is a toxin that can have harmful effects if it accumulates in the body, including higher blood pressure in adults and developmental problems in young children. Copper is less concerning, but can cause gastrointestinal distress with short-term exposure and liver or kidney problems with long-term exposure.

In multiple community meetings, letters to residents and the statement released to The Town Talk, Fort Polk officials stressed that the water on the base is safe to drink.

“The Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk is committed to the health and welfare of the community,” the statement read. “Stringent measures are in place to ensure the quality of the drinking water on Fort Polk, measures guided by Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and Environmental Protection Agency mandates. … Fort Polk will continue to monitor the water systems and implement the necessary measures to maintain the health and safety of our community.”

The issue began with a routine test in July 2013 of residential units in North Fort Housing, where more than 3,500 troops and family members live. The test of 20 random residences found that four exceeded the “action level” for lead in the water.

Action level is a threshold at which further testing and a plan of action to address the issue is required.


Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, https://www.thetowntalk.com

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