It is one year since the Department of Public Health told Tenterfield Shire Council it would have to begin fluoridising the town water, and the controversial additive is still not being added.
But that looks set to change in the coming months.
Construction of the $12,500 fluoride dosing plant has been completed and it is ready to begin adding the chemical to the town water supply.
Although the dosing plant equipment is ready and available to council, General Manager Don Ramsland said it would not begin administering fluoride to the town water supply until council staff was properly trained by the Department of Public Health. Council predicted it would start adding fluoride to the town water supply some time within the first six months of 2009, as reported in the Tenterfield Star on February 3, 2009, but these plans have been delayed in the past year by sluggish certification procedures.
The Tenterfield Star understands that staff may have their full and necessary accreditation by April this year, with proposed training sessions at Bowral set to be held during March.
Mr Ramsland was unsure of when fluoride would be introduced into the Tenterfield town water supply – that, he said, was up to the Department of Public Health.
“At this stage we are waiting to get proper certification from the Department of Public Health before we introduce fluoride into the town water supply. We won’t go near the issue until then,” Mr Ramsland said.
Tenterfield Shire Council was informed in 2009 that the Department of Public Health was putting pressure on resistant councils to begin adding fluoride to their water supply.
At the time, council indicated that it opposed the addition of fluoride in line with the general public opinion, but said that it could not override the Department of Public Health if the law became involved.
“Council is with its population who say they don’t want fluoride introduced into their water. We had a referendum and the community came out against it. But, council also cannot do something that is illegal,” Mr Ramsland said at the time.
When the Tenterfield Star approached Mr Ramsland on the issue last week, he said that neither public opinion nor council rulings would take precedence over a Department of Public Health directive.