Although Salt Lake County voters said yes to fluoridation in 2000, one private water company in Holladay said no.
Although Holliday Water Company purchased the necessary equipment to fluoridate, shareholders oppose adding the chemical to the water, so it sits idle.
Rep. Sylvia Andersen, R-Sandy, is sponsoring HB116 to allow the 3,000 shareholders that make up Holliday Water to decide for themselves rather than being forced to comply with the countywide mandate. The small company services 15,000 customers with 4,000 connections. After vigorous discussion Tuesday, the bill passed out of the House Political Subdivisions Committee on a 5-to-4 vote.
Paul Ashton, attorney for Holliday Water, questioned whether the 2000 referendum extended to private water companies.
“Government entities have immunity if someone sues, but a small private company does not,” Ashton said. “A lawsuit could wipe it out.”
Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, opposed the legislation.
“Whenever we have a countywide vote, I feel it’s binding on all the citizens in that county. It’s my understanding this company’s water co-mingles with Salt Lake City’s and is not a self-contained system.”
Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, also spoke against the bill, viewing it as a matter of oral heath.
In 2006, Salt Lake County sued Holliday Water Co. and its users association in hopes of getting a court order to force compliance.
That case could be settled in 3rd District Court sometime next month.