VALLEY SPRINGS — At a recent meeting of the Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority board, board chairman Andy Anderson encouraged as many customers and board members as possible to attend a hear this coming Thursday regarding the mandate to fluoridate the system’s drinking water.
Arkansas Act 197 of 2011 requires all water systems with more than 5,000 customers to fluoridate water.
In 2015, the water authority appealed the state Health Department’s requirement that it also add fluoride to water. The authority sells treated water to 18 water systems, so it maintains it doesn’t have 5,000 customers. In addition, none of those individual systems have 5,000 or more customers.
Anderson recently told board members that fluoride has been proven to leach lead from plumbing once fluoride is added. He said the city of Harrison has had more problems with lead showing up in residential drinking water since the Carroll Boone Water Association began fluoridating water in mid-2015.
Anderson also mentioned a problem with fluoride in water in Utah.
The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper reported last month that Sandy City, Utah, had been cited in February for having high levels of lead, copper and fluoride in the city’s drinking water. Residents were advised not to drink the water or use it for cooking until it was confirmed safe.
The newspaper quoted the Utah Department of Environmental Quality as saying an overfeed of fluoride into the water system after a winter storm and related power outage likely caused the high levels of heavy metals.
Anderson said that event made people sick and even damaged some water lines. He thought a lawsuit could easily be filed.
“It’s a liability for us if we put the dadgummed stuff in,” Anderson told board members.