News Briefs: Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Third Louisiana Water System

In this week's news, a third Louisiana water system tests positive for brain-eating amoebas, new groundwater data reveals some unsettling news for California, and a water main break wreaks havoc in Wisconsin's capital.
News Briefs: Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Third Louisiana Water System

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Naegleria fowleri, also called “brain-eating amoeba,” has been found in a third Louisiana water system. The Terrebonne Parish utility district issued a statement on Aug. 17, warning water customers to use caution while bathing, swimming and showering. The district, which has started a 60-day chlorine burn, stated the water is safe to drink but people should avoid getting water into their nasal passages.

N. fowleri typically lives in warm freshwater river and lakes, although it can be found in improperly chlorinated pools. It causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PEM), which is rare but often fatal. Transmission occurs when water containing the amoeba enters the nasal passages, which allows the amoeba to move to the brain.

The district’s reaction comes after a positive sampling was taken Aug. 5 at a fire hydrant.

Earlier this summer, the amoeba was detected in the Ascension Parish and St. Bernard Parish water systems.

“We are taking precautionary measures that (the Department of Health and Hospitals) approves of and would ask our residents to follow the rules that DHH has provided,” said Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez in an article.

Source:, CBS News

California is Sinking, Putting Resources and Infrastructure at Risk
New satellite imagery from NASA reveals parts of California are sinking faster than scientists originally had thought.

Some areas are sinking more than 2 inches per month, according to a recent report. NASA says the phenomenon, known as subsidence, is being caused by excessive groundwater pumping and has been accelerated due to the Golden State’s ongoing effort to combat the affects of severe drought.

“Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet lower than previous records,” says Mark Cowin, director of California’s Department of Water Resources. “As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly, and this puts nearby infrastructure at great risk of costly damage.”

According to the report, regions of the Tulare Basin (which includes Fresno) sank 13 inches in just eight months; the Sacramento Valley is sinking about 0.5 inches per month; and the California Aqueduct — a network of pipes, canals and tunnels that delivers water from the Sierra Nevada to northern and central parts of the state — has sunk more than 10 inches in the past four months.

Scientists warn that excessive groundwater pumping could have other long-term consequences. For example, if the land shrinks too much, it can permanently lose its ability to store groundwater.


Sinkhole Swallows Three Cars, Forces Evacuation
A water main break in Madison, Wisconsin Aug. 14 caused extensive property damage and quite a disturbance for nearby residents.

Three cars were totaled after having to be pulled from a sinkhole, and about 30 cars in an underground storage garage were flooded. Also, two of four buildings at a neighboring apartment complex lost utility service, forcing some tenants to find another place to stay.

A week after the incident, more than 100 residents were still awaiting word as to when they could move back into their homes. "Obviously, we've got a lot of repairs to do ... plumbing, electric," says property manager Rachel Wagabaza. "Until our residents have plumbing and electrical, we can't have them go in."

WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports



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