- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Virginia Tech and LSU Health New Orleans are offering free well water tests to Louisiana homeowners affected by the August floods.

They’re studying how the floods affected private wells and whether the wells were effectively disinfected.

A high dose of chlorine is often used to disinfect wells, but isn’t always effective, said Kelsey Pieper, a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech.

“Once we know what the water looks like, we can help the homeowners correct their water, and test whether these methods … get it back to the standards we expect,” she said.

She said initial tests for metals and coliform bacteria will take four to six weeks, and homeowners will then be sent confidential results.

Some of the most contaminated wells will be chosen for the second part of the project, with the number depending on available money, said Adrienne Katner, an assistant professor in the LSU medical school’s Department of Public Health.

“We’re going to test some of the protocols - how well they work, how long they last, how often you have to do it,” she said.

Pieper is also talking with North Carolina officials about whether they want her and Katner to run a similar project there.

Any homeowner with a private well in the Louisiana’s flood-affected area is eligible for one of the 150 test kits to be distributed Thursday and Friday at two churches in French Settlement.

About 50 had been reserved by Tuesday, Katner said.

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