The City of Booneville has awarded a contract to Associated Builders of Pocola to install fluoridation equipment into the city’s water treatment facility.
According to Booneville Water Department superintendent David Hardin, it is not a popular move, but it is mandated by a state law requiring municipal water suppliers serving populations of greater than 5,000 people. Because it is a supplier for Magazine, Blue Mountain and the South Logan County Water Facilities departments, Booneville serves more than 10,000.
“A lot of people are afraid of it,” said Hardin. “But we have to do it whether we like it or not. The sad thing is our customers are calling and saying, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it.’ They don’t understand, we don’t have that option.”
The state law, Act 197, affects 34 Arkansas water systems, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
He said all previous attempts by individuals in Booneville to fluoridate the water supply were defeated.
“The community has voted it down twice,” Hardin said.
Work on the installation of the equipment which will insert 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter into the water supply, could begin this week and the company has 60 days to complete the installation for Hardin said.
The amount of the fluoride, which Hardin says will cost the water department $25,000 to $30,000 on an annual basis, that reaches the consumer will be minimal.
The city of Fort Smith also recently moved forward on adding fluoride to its water supply, approving a grant agreement earlier this month.