LDEQ to conduct water quality survey on the Pearl River

Published 8:48 am Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will soon install electronic monitoring equipment in conjunction with a water sampling survey on the Pearl River in Washington and St. Tammany Parishes, and it’s asking the public to leave the equipment alone. 

The installation will take place, when weather and stream conditions are suitable, for a one-week period between July 30 and Aug. 17.

The survey is being conducted to gather water quality information that will be used to protect the water body, according to the LDEQ. The data gathered from the survey will be used to identify suspected pollutants in the river that may cause or contribute to low oxygen levels in the water.

LDEQ spokeswoman Jean Kelly said the department routinely performs the surveys on a rotating basis, and that she is not sure if the upcoming survey is related to last summer’s fish kill, which was caused by low oxygen levels due to a spill from what was then Temple-Inland’s treatment plant.

The LDEQ asks that people not tamper with the equipment that will be mounted on rebar, fence posts, white PVC poles or buoys. It also warns that a bright red, non-toxic dye will be injected into the water during the survey.

“Citizens who notice the red coloration of the water should not be alarmed,” said Kelly. “The water body will return to its normal state and color by the end of the day.”

She said the dye is used to determine flow and distribution patterns in the river. The patterns are used to establish sampling points for the survey and to aid in the development of a model.

LDEQ personnel will sample the Bogalusa Waste Water Treatment Facility and the International Paper Mill (former Temple-Inland) outfall during the survey, Kelly said.