The Park Hills City Council is scheduled to start out its next council session with a public hearing concerning the topic of fluoride in the town’s drinking water system.
The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, at Park Hills City Hall, 9 Bennett St. The regular council meeting will follow.
City leaders discussed possibly ending the practice of injecting fluoride into the drinking water system at a work session in April.
City Administrator Matt Whitwell asked council members during the meeting if anyone was opposed to the idea of investigating the issue. He said no one seemed to be against it.
As of Thursday afternoon, the city had received a total of two emails on the topic. Both included information aimed at demonstrating why fluoride should not be added to drinking water, he said.
Whitwell contacted the St. Francois County Health Center to let officials with the agency know the topic would be discussed at a public hearing and to give them the opportunity to weigh in on the matter.
He said health center officials have indicated that they plan to send the city a handout on the issue as well as a letter in support of continuing the practice of injecting fluoride into city drinking water. The documents are supposed to arrive prior to Tuesday’s meeting.
Submitted information will be presented to council members at the session. Public comments also will be accepted. Utilities Director John Black will be on hand as well to discuss the city’s drinking water system.
“I’m sure the council will take all of that into consideration,” Whitwell said.
He does not expect council members to take action Tuesday. He anticipates that they will take the information presented under advisement then decide how to proceed at a later date.
“Really, it’s just information gathering and to try to get the public’s input and see what the community’s sentiment is on this issue,” Whitwell said.
The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sets the standards for public drinking water systems. Right now, the state maximum for allowable fluoride levels is four parts per million, Whitwell has said. The state recommendation is that fluoride levels fall somewhere between 0.7 and 1.2 parts per million, he said.
Park Hills water consistently tests at one part per million. The figure takes into account the fluoride the city adds to the system.
If the city were to stop injecting the substance into the town’s water supply, the expectation is that fluoride levels would drop to between roughly 0.2 and 0.5 parts per million, Whitwell has said. They still would be within the requirements set by the state, as public water supply systems do not receive violation notices from the DNR unless the water supply contains excess levels of fluoride.
A decision to stop adding fluoride to the drinking water supply could save the city in the neighborhood of $18,000 per year, Whitwell said.
Those who wish to speak during the public hearing do not have to fill out a request to be placed on the agenda.
Other topics to be discussed Tuesday include the city’s plan to apply for low-interest loans for projects to extend Fairgrounds Drive and resurface East Main Street, a request to spend $29,987 to rebuild a lift station pump damaged by lightning and approval of a Senior Citizen’s Aid Association board appointment.
Whitwell also is scheduled to provide updates on the Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Utilities departments.