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Saltwater in the Mississippi Threatens Water Supply in New Orleans

Extreme heat and low rainfall this summer caused the river levels to plummet

Drought-like conditions in the Midwest over the summer have created a growing water problem in the New Orleans area this fall.

Water levels of the Mississippi River have dropped low enough to make the river less resistant to a mass of saltwater flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico. This circumstance, known as saltwater intrusion, is endangering the drinking water systems in and around the city, as well as smaller municipalities to the south.

Officials in Louisiana and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say that a “saltwater wedge” could reach water treatment plants near New Orleans in October and are working to slow the influx while also bringing in more fresh water to the region. Many water treatment facilities cannot handle water with high salinity levels, which corrode pipes and cause metals in the pipes to leach into the water.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The New York Times. 

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