JOPLIN, Mo. – Despite continued objections from some citizens, Joplin’s water system will begin getting fluoride next week, the city’s water supplier said.

Missouri-American Water Co. is sending notices about the upcoming fluoridation in bills mailed to customers, saying it will begin putting fluoride in the water in August.

A spokeswoman for the water company, Christy Allman, said Thursday that the utility is still installing and testing equipment but expects to have fluoride distributed throughout the system by the end of next week.

After the Joplin City Council voted to approve fluoridation in September 2004, several citizens began a petition drive to force a referendum on adding the additive to the water.

Although the effort failed to get enough signatures, the Joplin Pure Water Association will continue to raise money for a legal challenge, said Fred King, chairman of the group.

Allman said it will take about three days for the fluoride to disperse throughout the system. Once fully implemented, the level of fluoride will be one part per million.

Supporters say adding fluoride to the water helps fight tooth decay. Opponents contend that it could cause health problems and that citizens should be able to decide what will be in their drinking water.