TOOWOOMBA region ratepayers will shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate 20 water fluoridation plants if council loses its appeal for an exemption.
The State Government’s compulsory water fluoridation legislation dictates that fluoride must be flowing through Toowoomba residents’ taps by December.
The technical and operational issues specific to the city’s complex water supply were discussed at yesterday’s council committee meeting.
While the State Government will pay for the estimated $4.6 million capital costs of building the plants, the operational and maintenance costs will be left for ratepayers.
Toowoomba Regional Council’s water operations manager Alan Kleinschmidt yesterday told councillors there was a risk that Garden City residents would not even receive the correct dose of fluoride.
“The majority of Toowoomba residents will receive drinking water containing less than the mandated fluoride concentration, due to the blending of Mt Kynoch water and bore water in the distribution and reticulation system,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.
Deputy Mayor Paul Antonio (water services committee chairman) yesterday voiced his concerns.
“This matter is a classic example where a government has decided that one boot fits everyone. But it doesn’t fit Toowoomba,” he said.
“What we need to do is give the people who want fluoride the opportunity to have fluoride. I think we can achieve that.
“There is a much simpler method (fluoride tablets) rather than attempt to put it in a complex water system.”
Mr Kleinschmidt, who is a member of the Queensland Water Fluoridation Group, recommended that council apply for an exemption from the requirement to operate a water fluoridation plant at Mt Kynoch.
Council accepted the recommendation. Mayor Peter Taylor hoped the Government would listen to their case.
“Whether you are in favour or against fluoridation on a compulsory basis, there are some really significant technical operational issues to comply with the legislation,” he said.