Broken Bow residents will vote Nov. 4 whether the city’s water supply should be fluoridated.

The Nebraska Legislature passed LB 245 this year to provide fluoridation of drinking water in cities or villages with populations of 1,000 or more residents by June 2, 2010.

However, the bill included a provision for communities that want to opt out of the plan, based on a vote of the people.

The City of Broken Bow asks voters whether the city should enact an ordinance that prohibits fluoridation. An ordinance prohibiting fluoridation would allow the city to opt out of the legislation.

A “FOR” vote on the ballot would allow the ordinance and prohibit the city from fluoridating the water.

An “AGAINST” vote on the ballot would prevent the city from enacting such an ordinance and the city would have to comply with the leg slation.

Cities that do not have the issue on their ballots must comply with the legislation.

“Basically, if we don’t put it on the ballot, it’s automatic,” said Broken Bow City Council President Mike Evans.

The legislation requires that fluoride levels in communities with more than 1,000 people be 1 part fluoride per million parts water.

According to Mike Lucas, Broken Bow Utilities Superintendent, tests have shown that the level of fluoride in untreated municipal water in

Broken Bow is .28 parts per million.

According to information provided by the Nebraska State Board of Health, 61 of the eligible 64 communities have placed the issue on the November ballot.

Lucas said engineers have estimated that users will pay an additional 10 cents for each 1,000 gallons of water they use if the water is fluoridated.

Total water use for the city averages about 2 million gallons per day, Lucas said.

According to the state board of health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association consistently recommend fluoridation of public drinking water.

Literature from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services indicates that about two-thirds of Americans served by public water systems receive fluoridated water.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that exists in combination with other elements and is a constituent of minerals in rocks and soil. Small amounts of soluble fluoride is present in virtually all water sources, according to the DHHS literature.

In Nebraska, 41 communities have sufficient levels of naturally occurring fluoride. Another 65 communities fluoridate their water.