The water supply in Louisiana has been threatened by massive hurricanes and a deadly oil spill in the last decade or so. Fortunately, the drinking water has come out from these disasters unscathed.
Looking at a map of Louisiana can tell you that there is an abundance of water throughout the state. However, much of the supply comes from underneath the surface. The Sparta Aquifer does most of the heavy lifting while several other aquifers help provide enough water for residents of Louisiana to use.
These aquifers provide relatively clean water to many residents of the state. The one downside is the water picks up natural minerals and earth metals as it rests in the underground storage and travels to its final destination.
Most Louisiana residents will tell you they deal with hard water. This issue is a bit of a nuisance but does not make the water unsafe. It can cause problems around the house but there are treatments available to protect your household from dealing with hard water troubles.
Common Water Problems by City
Most of Louisiana sources water from groundwater. However, some well-known cities use surface water sources, as well. Each source presents its own issues, forcing each community to treat its water for problems specific to their area.
New Orleans is one of the few cities supplied by surface water. The mighty Mississippi River provides the city water as it rushes past toward the Gulf of Mexico. Given the size of the river and myriad potential contaminants, New Orleans water is heavily treated.
The primary complaints expressed by residents are hard water and cloudy, poor tasting water. Cloudiness is often the result of sediment entering the water system. While not inherently dangerous, it can certainly be off-putting to see water that is less than clear.
Hard water causes problems of its own. The collection of natural minerals and earth metals creates this inconvenience. If left untreated, hard water can build up in pipes and water supply lines ruining the efficiency of appliances and causing plumbing problems down the road.
Over 65 wells are used to pull water up and into the water supply system in Baton Rouge. This water comes from surface water entering the ground in Mississippi and traveling underground to come to rest under the city.
While less likely to be subjected to the typical surface water contaminants, well water is still treated chemically. Baton Rouge chooses to chlorinate its water to eliminate any potential bacterial contamination.
This treatment process often results in a poor tasting water product. While harmless, the taste and smell of chlorine can certainly be less palatable.
As the water travels beneath the surface, it absorbs minerals along the way. This leads to a classic case of hard water. Specifically, calcium and magnesium create limescale, which often results in a white, chalky buildup on surfaces where water comes to rest.
Hard water can cause dry skin after bathing and can cause buildups in plumbing and supply lines.
Cross Lake generally provides enough water to supply residents of Louisiana. However, during a dry season, the lake is supplemented with water from the nearby Twelve Mile Bayou.
During times of supplementation, you may notice a poor smell or bad tasting water in Shreveport. This comes from the bayou water being used to provide an extra source to the city. The water remains safe, as it is treated, but can retain its poor smell.
Hard water is prevalent in Shreveport, as well. This can lead to a buildup of limescale, as most of the hard water is from excessive levels of calcium. Limescale can build up in plumbing or the lines supplying appliances, leading to reduced efficiency.
The water supplying Lafayette homes and businesses comes from up to 650 feet under the surface. The Chicot Aquifer supplies enough water to keep Lafayette drinking and using safe water.
The Chicot Aquifer is essentially a large, underground lake. As the water travels down to the aquifer, rests there, and then travels up through wells to the Lafayette water system.
As the water travels, it collects minerals and earth metals that can impact the water quality. This leads to two main issues: hard water and discolored water. Neither of the qualities is unsafe but can be a nuisance around the home.
Hard water causes dry skin after bathing. It also creates limescale in areas where water sits like tubs and sinks. The discoloration can lead to stains on laundry or in the tub of the washing machine.