Fluoride made its return to Conway’s drinking water Friday afternoon.
A water line failure at a Conway Corp. treatment plant in October 2007 put the fluoride injection port out of service. Restoring fluoridation has involved putting the fluoride injection port and its associated equipment in a new location and constructing a building around it.
The water line failed because the fluoride injection port was placed too close to a chlorine injection port, resulting in an acidic condition in the area near the ports that corroded the pipe.
The project was delayed several times while Conway Corp. waited for parts, but by Friday morning workers had the equipment installed and were fine-tuning it to provide the American Dental Association-recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million.
By 5:45 it was up and running.
“As long as I’ve known we’ve always added fluoride and it’s encouraged by the Arkansas Department of Health and they’d know better than we would if it has a benefit or not,” Conway Corp. CEO Richie Arnold said.
Arnold said Conway Corp. pays about $100,000 per year for fluoride.
“That price has nearly quadrupled in the last couple years,” he said. “It’s sometimes hard to get, too, but we’ve got plenty in storage and it should be good for a while.”