Fluoride Action Network

Abilene: fluoridation suspended due to a potential safety issue for employees

Source: City of Abilene blogspot, "Particles in the Water" | June 25th, 2013
Location: United States, Kansas

The Environmental Protection Agency requires the City to annual issue its Consumer Confidence Report detailing the water quality. All water utility customers should have received a copy of the report in the mail a few days ago. Please call City Hall at (785) 263-2550 if you haven’t received a copy and wish to obtain one via mail or you may also download a copy from the City’s website. Also on the website, the City maintains copies of the Consumer Confidence Reports dating back to 2003.

The report is very detailed and filled with terms and abbreviations that seem to be more appropriate for a chemistry textbook than a document meant to inform the public about the water supply. The purpose of this post is to summarize the main points of the report.

During the 2012 calendar year, the City of Abilene had no violations of drinking water regulations. The City has met or exceeded all standards and regulations set by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Water production personnel are continually performing quality assurance testing of the tap water to maintain these standards. The most important point of the Consumer Confidence Report is that the water that is produced and provided to water customers is safe to consume.

This continues an ongoing trend of providing high quality water to the residents and businesses of Abilene. For this accomplishment, I must commend the Water Treatment Plant crew for its commitment to producing water that exceeds state and federal quality standards. A few points about the City’s water:

  • The City does fluoridate its water and has done so since 1997. To be sure, fluoridation of the public water supply was authorized with Ordinance No. 2828. The application of fluoride into the public water supply is somewhat controversial, but many believe that it promotes dental hygiene. Recently, the City suspended the application of fluoride due to a potential safety issue for employees. The City Commission will be discussing whether to continue the application of fluoride or to discontinue its use at the July 2 Study Session.
  • The water produced by the City has a hardness of about 188, which is at the high end of the hardness scale. Residents and businesses with water softeners should configure their unit for this level of hardness to ensure the best results. Hardness is water does not pose a health risk and is not regulated. The City made a change last year to its water production process in order to produce a harder water product. This was done to reduce the dependency on the Sands Springs Aquifer during significant drought conditions.
  • Water in Abilene has high levels of lead, although such levels are still well below the level that would require certain treatment considerations. Lead in drinking water is primarily from service lines and home plumbing. When your water has been sitting for several hours without use, you can minimize the potential exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds or so before using. Information on lead in water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available at www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
  • The City is required to test a minimum of eight samples per month in accordance with the Total Coliform Rule for microbiological contaminants. Coliform bacteria are usually harmless, but their presence in water can be an indication of disease-causing bacteria. When coliform bacteria are found, special follow-up tests are done to determine if harmful bacteria are present in the water supply. If this limit is exceeded, the City must notify the public.
  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) conducted its annual inspection of the public water system on June 11, 2013. According to correspondence from KDHE, there were no observations of deficiencies discovered during the site visit. The City has had no positive bacteriological samples reported in the last two years. During the past year, the City has had no monitoring violations, no maximum contaminant level violations, and no other violations reported.