FLUORIDATION equipment worth $738,652 will be installed at Biloela and Moura’s water treatment plants but council still hasn’t decided if they will turn the equipment on.
The design and construction of fluoridation dosing systems will be funded from a State Government grant but Banana Shire will have to pay the costs to operate the system – estimated at $70,000 a year.
Under the former Bligh government’s State Water Fluoridation Regulation legislation, introduced in 2008, all towns with a population of more than 1000 had to introduce fluoride into the drinking water.
The government promised to fund the projects.
Banana Shire commercial service director Andrew Reid said, under the agreement, council had to have the dosing plants commissioned by the end of 2014 to get the grant money.
After the election of the Newman government council was no longer required by legislation to add fluoride to the water.
Banana Shire agreed to proceed with construction of the two dosing plants.
Councillor Nev Ferrier said council had agreed to build the infrastructure but had not decided if the dosing plants should be switched on.
“I don’t believe we have passed it at a council meeting, to put it (fluoride) in the water,” Cr Ferrier said.
Mayor Ron Carige agreed, saying just because council had the equipment didn’t mean they had to use it.
Mr Reid said before the plant could be commissioned staff had to be fully trained on handling fluoride.
“We don’t have that at the moment,” Mr Reid said.
So on top of the $70,000 annual bill to run the plants, council would have to pay for staff to be trained.
Biloela’s drinking water has been treated with fluoride previously.
Banana Shire introduced fluoridation to the Biloela water supply after a referendum of ratepayers in 1964.
However, in 2003, Queensland Health discovered council was in breach of the fluoridation of public water supply regulation and needed to spend $80,000 to upgrade its Biloela fluoridation plant.
After the State Government refused to help fund the upgrade, council closed down the plant and made fluoride tablets available for Biloela residents free of charge.