Despite fluoride being shut off, it will remain in the system for a time, says the town’s director of public works.
“There will be fluoride in the water for a while, because you have two full towers, plus the distribution system,” Peter Brown said Monday morning. “You’ve got every main in town that’s got potable water in it, that has fluoride still in it, plus you have the towers so once everything is depleted, the fluoride will be reduced. But I have no idea, or couldn’t even estimate how long that is going to take.”
Brown said the town will continue to test its water regularly as per requirements by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment, but won’t be testing for fluoride for another five years.
“The Ministry of Health has mandated that if we’re not fluoridating we only have to test for fluoride every 60 months. That’s the requirement, so that’s what we will do. We have no intention to do sampling between now and 60 months from now, because there is no reason to, unless we are required to by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change or Ministry of Health, ” he said.
Brown cautioned any members of the public looking to collect their own water samples and have it tested by an outside lab, as members of Parry Sounders of Progressive Water Management have suggested.
“In order to take a sample from a municipal distribution system, an operator has to be licensed and qualified to take that sample. If you’re not licensed to take the sample and if it’s not done in a proper location, how can it be legitimate sample?” he said. “When we take a sample, we have forms to complete. If it’s being sent to a lab, we have to fill out a form and that form identifies where the sample was taken from. Let’s just say for example that a member of the public takes a sample of your water in your house and you send it off to a lab and pay for the sample. Let’s say the sample comes back negative (for fluoride), but it comes back positive for something else…which it could because of the way the sample was taken…they didn’t take the screen off, they didn’t let the water run for five minutes, or they had a load of dishes a week old in the sink – will all compromise the sample. There are protocols to be followed when taking a sample, which staff strictly follow.”