HUMBOLDT — Citing essentially unanimous support from public health officials and community members, the Humboldt City Council agreed Monday that the city should begin fluoridating its water.
The move came after a presentation by the Community Wellness Council which implored the city to begin treating its water with fluoridated chemicals.
Fluoridated water helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the process through which enamel breaks down, explained council member Sean McReynolds, a local dentist and member of the Wellness Council.
McReynolds described fluoridated water as “the perfect public health intervention” because it benefits everyone young and old, regardless of socioeconomic class.
In addition, McReynolds pointed out that Humboldt is the only community in Allen County that does not fluoridate its water.
Fluoridation requires any of three compounds: sodium fluoride, fluorosilicic acid or sodium fluorosilicate. The chemicals do not affect the taste or smell of water and are relatively inexpensive, added Wellness Council member Christie McReynolds.
Christie McReynolds estimated the cost of installing equipment to the city’s water treatment plant at $1,500, plus another $700 for the chemicals. The Wellness Council could assist the city in pursuing grant funding to offset the costs.
City Attorney Fred Works wrote up a resolution for the Council to approve, but wondered if they should wait to receive public feedback, “as a P.R. thing.”
Sean McReynolds disagreed.
“They elect us for a reason, to make decisions like this,” he said.
The resolution passed, 6-0. Council members Jeremy Weilert and Sam Murrow were absent.
In a related matter, water plant superintendent John Hodgden provided the Council with an extensive overview of how the water plants converts raw Neosho River water into water that’s safe for the community to drink.
He hopes to draw a large crowd to the water plant for a pair of tours, at 2 and 6 p.m. May 21.
Humboldt also has rescheduled tours of its wastewater treatment plant, at 2 and 6 p.m. May 19, Humboldt City Administrator Larry Tucker said.
The public is invited to the tours.