BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A mass influx of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico creeping up the drought-stricken Mississippi River is threatening consuming water provides in Louisiana, prompting Gov. John Bel Edwards to ask President Joe Biden for federal assist.
Edwards despatched a letter Monday night saying the difficulty “is of such severity and magnitude” that state and native authorities can now not handle it on their very own. Federal help is “obligatory to avoid wasting lives and to guard property, public well being and security or to minimize or avert the specter of a catastrophe,” Edwards wrote.
If Biden approves the request to declare an emergency, it could assist Louisiana safe federal cash and logistical help from companions such because the Federal Emergency Administration Company.
For the second 12 months in a row, salt water from the Gulf of Mexico has moved additional up the Mississippi to threaten consuming water in communities that depend on the river for recent water, together with New Orleans. Usually, the river’s mighty stream retains mass quantities of salt water from reaching too far inland, however sizzling and dry circumstances throughout the nation this summer season triggered drought that slowed the Mississippi’s stream and lowered its water ranges.
For months, consuming water advisories have been issued for some communities in southeastern Louisiana, warning folks the water is unsafe to drink, particularly for folks with kidney illness, hypertension, these on a low-sodium food plan, infants and pregnant ladies.
In components of Plaquemines Parish, residents have relied on bottled water for consuming and cooking since June.
“We’ve had discussions with FEMA concerning the distinctive challenges we face with this occasion,” Edwards stated in a information launch. “We’re optimistic the President will approve our Federal Emergency Declaration, which might be essential to assist our communities.”
Edwards stated 23,515 residents in Plaquemines Parish have been affected by the salt water, together with these at a army base, a nursing house, 11 faculties, a jail and citrus farms.
Residents have reported pores and skin irritations and broken home equipment, together with water heaters and washing machines, from salt publicity.
The salt water is predicted to succeed in different consuming water provides additional upriver — together with Orleans, St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes — by mid-to-late October, Edwards stated.
Officers are addressing the difficulty in a number of methods, together with elevating the peak of an underwater levee used to dam or sluggish the salt water and bringing in 15 million gallons of recent water to remedy services in impacted areas.