The 28 residents of Richland County Valley View (Thiel Subdivision) recently received public notices required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pertaining to the high level of fluoride present in their drinking water. According to the notice, the drinking water has a fluoride concentration of 4.54 milligrams per liter.
Federal regulations require that fluoride, which occurs naturally in your water supply, not exceed a concentration of 4.0 milligrams per liter. This is an enforceable standard called a Maximum Contaminant Level and has been established to protect public health.
The Richland County-Valley View Water District will conduct a water rate hearing on March 21, at 7 p.m. at Rau Elementary School. The Richland County-Valley View Water District proposes to establish new water rates. These rate increases are proposed to be made in two steps.
Valley View resident’s current water rates are $30 per month, a flat rate for all users. The District proposes an initial rate increase of approximately $10 per month per user effective July 1, 2002, then an additional increase of $15 per month beginning July 1, 2003,for a total rate of $55 per month.
If grant and loan financing for the project is not secured by early 2003, the effective date of the second rate increase would be delayed until such funding was acquired.
Upon completion of the project, the District would establish user rates that would average a collection of $55 per month but consist of a base rate charge and metered usage.
High fluoride concentrations require the District to make major improvements to the water system. The increases provide for the completion of an engineering report and provide matching funds for design and construction of a new reverse osmosis treatment facility, (estimated total cost of $400,000). This new facility would provide higher quality water. The full rate increase would pay debt service on an anticipated loan and provide needed income to cover anticipated operation and maintenance costs associated with the new treatment system and meter reading. According to the National Pure Water Association, fluoride’s affects are cumulative. Fluoride’s impacts depend not only on the total dosage of exposure, but also on other factors such as nutritional status, kidney function and interaction with other trace elements.
The notice also stated that federal law also requires that residents are notified when monitoring indicates that the fluoride level exceeds 2.0 mg/l. This is intended to alert families about dental problems that may affect children under nine years of age. The fluoride concentration in the Valley View water district is double the amount allowed according to federal regulation. Exposure to drinking water levels above 4.0 mg/l for many years may result in some cases of crippling skeletal fluorosis, which is a serious bone disorder.
Some children exposed to levels of fluoride greater than about 2.0 may develop dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis, in its moderate and severe forms is a brown staining and or pitting of the permanent teeth.
Residents in the Valley View Water District with children under the age of nine have been advised to seek other sources of drinking water.
The notice stated that the removal of fluoride from the water is possible, but there may be an increase in water costs and that treatment systems are available for home use.