Lead found in Saint Joseph drinking water in 20-plus percent of homes, businesses
SAINT JOSEPH – Within minutes of being sworn in Friday as mayor, Elvadus Fields was informed by state health officials that nearly 22 percent of the homes in this small northeast Louisiana town have unsafe levels of lead in the drinking water.
Fields unseated four-term incumbent Edward Brown by three votes out of 421 cast in an election that revolved around anger about the continuing water crisis.
“The truth is, this should have been fixed years ago,” Fields said of the drinking water that has run yellowish-brown from the tap for years, largely because of the 90-year-old system that has been poorly maintained.
On Friday, state health officials announced that not only does the water have high levels of manganese and iron, which cause the discoloration though are not dangerous, but 90 homes also have unsafe levels of lead. Even low levels of lead can result in lower IQs, hearing problems, anemia and other serious health problems.