Rous Water is set to begin its fluoridation program on parts of the Northern Rivers.
The authority has now received final approval from the Department of Health.
In the coming week dosing four plants will be switched on, meaning most consumers in the Lismore, Ballina and Richmond Valley areas will have fluoride added to their drinking water.
Rous Water’s general manager, Kyme Lavelle, said it was the end of a long and drawn-out process.
“It’s taken well over 10 years to get to this stage and involved three court cases and consultation etcetera,” he said.
“So besides that we’ve had to comply with the requirements of New South Wales Health in terms of the standard of construction, the type of equipment we’ve put in there.
“There’s been a testing regime in place which has been witnessed by the Office of Water, and reports provided to the Department of Health which has provided approval to commence the fluoridation.”
But a Lismore City councillor has called for the fluoridation plans to be put on hold.
Vanessa Ekins is one of two Lismore representatives at Rous Water.
She said the National Health and Medical Research Council was still reviewing fluoride concentration levels.
“They’re still accepting scientific submissions,” Cr Ekins said.
“So we keep asking what’s happening with it, but I’d like Rous to consider suspending putting fluoride in until we’re clear about it.
“At the moment Rous is planning on putting one milligram per litre, which was the 1970s standard.
“World best practise standard now is 0.7 milligrams per litre.
“When Rous last formally discussed putting fluoride in the water supply, councillors who supported fluoride in the water supply were very keen to see that concentration reduced to 0.7.
“People are concerned about the high level of concentration.”
Meanwhile, a leading north coast dentist said the benefits of fluoridation would become apparent in two to three years.
The chairman of the far north coast branch of the Australian Dental Association, Brendan White, said fluoridation was something he had campaigned for over many years.
“The conversations I have to have constantly with parents about how we can manage to access care and how they can afford care and how we can organise general anaesthetics for their children, I look forward to not having those conversations and to seeing the benefit,” he said.
“Very quickly, in two or three years, there will be a great benefit to our community.”