St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis will officially declare a State of Emergency Tuesday evening in reference to the fish kill/discharge in the Pearl River Basin. The State of Emergency will allow the parish to request state assistance for the affected area.
Last week, an unknown substance entered the Pearl River near the paper mill in Bogalusa, in Washington Parish. The river began turning black and fish began to die. The discharge area is now 40 – 50 miles long reaching from south of Bogalusa to the Rigolets Bridge. The black area is moving southward slowly. Fish and shellfish are being killed by the substance.
Acting upon direction from the LA Department of Health and Hospitals, it is ordered that no citizens should swim, wade, fish, or come in contact with waterways in the Pearl River watershed, including its tributaries. According to DHH, do not eat, handle or collect any fish or shellfish from the affected waters. Pets should follow these same regulations. This is a public safety concern.
Drinking water from public water system is NOT affected.
Residents coming in contact with the tainted water and experiencing illness such as skin irritation or infection, upset stomach or sore throat, or breathing difficulties should seek immediate medical assistance according to DHH.
St. Tammany Parish officials have met with representatives of the LA Department of Environmental Quality and the LA Department of Health and Hospitals to gather relevant data. Testing is underway and more information will be available at the end of that process.
The St. Tammany Parish public emergency hotline, 898-2323, will open at 10:00AM tomorrow, Wednesday, August 17th.