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February 27, 2009

Students educate public on drinking water protection

Students from the University of Louisiana at Monroe Toxicology Club are assisting the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water Protection team to spread the word about the importance of drinking water protection in Ouachita Parish.

The students are helping the Ouachita Parish Drinking Water Protection Committee conduct educational visits to local businesses that manage or store chemicals, such as gas stations, dry cleaners or print shops. These businesses are located near public water wells or surface water intakes, the sources of drinking water in Ouachita Parish. The students will distribute information to the businesses on best management practices that will assure that chemicals are being stored properly and that no chemicals are released to local water sources.

The project is practical experience for the students, who will work on this project through the end of February, said Kevin Baer, department chair of ULM’s toxicology department. He oversees the project with colleague Shannon Banks, an instructor in the toxicology department.

“This program provides an excellent opportunity for toxicology students to interact with environmental professionals and educate the community about preventing contamination of our drinking water sources,” Baer said.

Participating ULM students include Barry Marcel, Houma; Nikki Rougeau, Rodessa; Carmen Hollingsworth, Pensacola, Fla.; Chandra Hulbert, Baton Rouge; Erica Durr, Marthaville; Cassey Bennett, Doyline; Sherronda Butler, Lake Charles; and Natasha Washington, Deridder.

For more information on the Drinking Water Protection Program go to

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