LDH Releases Final Water Grades for 951 Louisiana Water Systems

BATON ROUGE — On May 1, the Louisiana Department of Health released final water grades for 951 community water systems across the state.

In Orleans Parish, one system received a B grade and another earned a C. In Jefferson, three systems received an A and one received a D. Click here to see grades for St. Tammany, which has dozens of systems.

The overall grade breakdown is as follows:

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  • A: 386 systems, or 41%
  • B: 256 systems, or 27%
  • C: 171 systems, or 18%
  • D: 56 systems, or 6%
  • F: 82 systems, or 9%

The final water grades follow preliminary grades that were published in January. The preliminary grades may not have included data for financial sustainability, customer satisfaction or bonus points awarded to a water system. The new data included in calculating the final grades will mean letter grade changes for some water systems.

Going forward, water system grades will be published annually on May 1.

The water grades are enabled under Act 98 of the 2021 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature. The grades are calculated using points assigned to seven standards that evaluate the infrastructure, sustainability and overall water quality.

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State Sen. Fred Mills authored the legislation as a way to provide residents with a snapshot of the quality of their community water systems, and to encourage water systems to invest in improvements or explore consolidating with another water system to improve sustainability. 

Amanda Ames, chief engineer for the Louisiana Department of Health, led the initiative’s implementation.

“Clean drinking water is such a fundamentally important part of our existence. In my 16 years as a state legislator I have filed nearly 300 bills, and Act 98 is one of the most important because it educates consumers about the quality of their drinking water and holds the operators of those systems accountable,” said Mills in a press release. “I am so proud of Amanda Ames and her LDH team for bringing this bill to life. I have never been more pleased with implementation of a legislative concept, and I know that the water system grades will be a valuable tool for consumers and an incentive for water systems to make their infrastructure a priority.”  

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“More than 65% of water systems in the state received an A or B grade. However, 15% of systems received a D or F and have opportunities for improvement,” Ames said. “Dedicated funding through the LDH Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program, as well as other funding mechanisms, are available to help systems invest in this critical infrastructure.”

There are seven standards evaluated to determine a system’s grade. These standards are:

  • Federal water quality violations
  • State violations
  • Financial sustainability
  • Operation and maintenance
  • Infrastructure
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Secondary contaminants (iron and Manganese)

Water systems are also eligible for up to 10 bonus points for maintaining asset management plans, a storage assessment and maintenance program, a well assessment and maintenance program and for participating in a capacity development program or management training program.

The LDH water grades page can be found at ldh.la.gov/watergrade

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