Hightstown will be adding fluoride back into the drinking water supply, possibly as early as mid-September, according to officials.
Fluoride is estimated to be back in the water around Sept. 10, but the date could change depending on how long it takes to fix the water treatment plant’s pump mechanism that adds fluoride to the system, according to Borough Administrator Michael Theokas. Safety equipment, including a ventilation system, gloves and masks, also need to be purchased before fluoridation can start.
A public notification will be made to let residents know when fluoride will be in their water supply, according to Theokas.
“We have already contacted the DEP [state Department of Environmental Protection] to get their procedure about this type of notification, and we will comply totally with their standards,” Theokas said in an email Tuesday.
Controversy has surrounded fluoridation in Hightstown. In September 2010 fluoride was removed from the water supply after a pump broke, but public notification was not made until March 2012. Some council members called for an investigation as to why notification wasn’t made sooner, and the DEP told Patch there was a communication gap within their departments.
The council voted 5-1 on Monday, to approve the addition fluoride at a level of .7 parts per million to the water. Council member Susan Bluth voted against the measure.
“When I see an equal amount of pros and cons, and like I said, we’ve been without it, I can’t support it, based upon on everything I’ve read,” Bluth said.
Three public health professionals, including Ann Dandurand, volunteer president of the Board of Health, Sharon Lane, public health nurse for Hightstown, and Jill Swanson, health officer, encouraged the council’s approval.
“We’re protecting the most vulnerable,” Dandurand said.
The DEP did not immediately return a call Tuesday.