"What we saw was really positive," said Steve Clarke, an engineer with the U.S. Army Public Health Command who helped conduct the study.
"What the testing showed was that in every one of them, the results showed we did not exceed the lead and copper action level.
In other words, I did not have more than 10 percent of my sampling of those 34 samples come back above 15 parts per billion."
The three homes in North Fort with levels above 15 ppb had 23 ppb, 41 ppb and 44 ppb.
The findings from the study reflect a "downward trend," Clarke
"I know it's difficult to hear a water system is safe when you're looking at this gross-colored water coming out of your tap, but because we know that it is caused by these aesthetic parameters, it doesn't pose a health risk," said Clarke
"And I'm confident that all of the planned improvements that are ... going to be implemented will eventually have a positive impact on further reducing brown, rusty water at Fort Polk."
The amount of time the water sits in the pipes, Clarke
said, contributes to the rusty water because the naturally occurring iron and manganese corrode the pipes.
In North Fort housing officials found water taking as many as six days on average to reach residents' taps.
The recommended amount of time for water to sit in pipes before reaching the consumer is one to three days, Clarke
Much of the brown water problem in North Fort housing was resolved when a problem well was taken out of commission after it was found to have higher acidic levels and caused corrosion in the pipes.
also assessed improvements at North Fort that American Water pledged to make and said he
was confident that they would vastly improve water conditions, including implementing a policy in August to fill and drain distribution storage tanks more frequently and installing auto-flushers - both of which have reduced water age to three days.
Corrosion-control treatment will be added to water, along with existing disinfectant, to help treat the water and improve the acidity and reduce corrosion, Clarke
Testing conducted at South Fort housing also found significant levels of iron and manganese in the wells and brown water in homes.
said the old iron pipes have been slowly corroding for decades and significantly contributed to the brown water there.
The design of the water system in South Fort, however, did not allow for significant improvements, he
said, and the housing area had a water age of more than six days.
American Water uses a chemical treatment system that binds the iron and manganese for that water system and is less effective with higher water age.
American Water is replacing thousands of lines of old iron pipe at South Fort and will also install a tank mixing system, which will constantly mix in fresh water into the tanks and will reduce the average water age.
said residents who haven't used water in more than six hours should let it run for 15-30 seconds - which "greatly reduces" the levels of iron and manganese present in the water.
None of the samples from the recent testing were from single-soldier barracks.
said the barracks were not sampled for lead and copper, but had previously been assessed and found safe.
said the most recent testing of South Fort would also reflect the condition of barracks water.
Some soldiers questioned the lack of lead and copper testing in the barracks, but a district engineer with DHH
said barracks made it difficult to get an accurate water sample because EPA sampling requires a "first draw" - difficult to get in buildings with multiple residences.
Unoccupied barracks cannot be used for testing either, she
said, as per the federal guidelines.