Sudbury Water District voters allocated $5.8 million to design and construct a new district headquarters and rejected a citizen’s request to stop fluoridating the town’s water at an annual meeting Tuesday night.
The building project should not impact how much customers have to pay for their water, officials said. The district will build new offices and vehicle facilities at its current headquarters at 199 Raymond Road.
The district will pay back bonds on the project over 25 years. Design will take six months, construction eight months. The new facilities will alleviate space and code deficiencies within the existing 1968 facilities.
Resident James Brownell unsuccessfully petitioned the water district’s annual meeting to stop adding fluoride to its water, arguing it had been shown to be harmful to human health.
“We know it’s dangerous, we know it doesn’t work,” Brownell said. “I’m not sure why we put it in the water.”
Water district commissioners, however, unanimously opposed Brownell’s measure, citing a 1999 report from the Centers for Disease Control that listed fluoridation as among the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
Water fluoridation also has the support of the World Health Organization, the American Dental Association, and many other well-respected groups, said Commissioner Michael Fee.
“Although we are not public health experts, we take very seriously our responsibility to deliver a safe, clean and pure product,” Fee said.
Around 140 Massachusetts communities used water treated with fluoride as of 2014. The practice is intended to help reduce tooth decay. Sudbury’s public water system began adding fluoride in 1960.
The annual meeting approved the district’s $2.8 million operating budget for fiscal 2018, roughly $300,000 below current spending levels. There were no changes to water rates.
Four candidates — Craig Blake, Robert Boyd Jr., Rita Fordiani, and Joshua Fox — were on the ballot Tuesday, seeking one seat on the district’s Board of Water Commissioners. Results weren’t available by print deadline.
The district operates nine wells and manages 145 miles of pipes, delivering more than one million gallons of ater every day.
• Original article online at http://sudbury.wickedlocal.com/news/20170516/sudbury-water-district-oks-58m-building-project