Staff at Orchard Hiltz & McCliment Inc. conducted some research on municipal water fluoridation on behalf of the village following a dialogue with area dentist Barbara Wehr.
Wehr discovered in November that the village does not fluoridate its water, and tested village water samples showing that the village was below the recommended amount of .7 to 1 parts per million. The tests showed roughly .35 parts per million in the village’s water from naturally occurring sources.
OHM recommended considering water fluoridation as an option, even going so far as to recommend community consideration and possibly a survey of system users to gauge public opinion on the mater.
“Ultimately, regardless of if the fluoridation is chosen, it seems apparent that some education should be done in the community so that everyone is aware of the amount of fluoride found in the village’s system,” said Dexter village Client Representative Rhett Gronevelt an assessment letter discussed Monday. “Users can make their own decisions regarding what additional steps they feel are necessary,”
The report detailed what the village would need in terms of equipment to fluoridate village water.
According to the report, chemical feed equipment would need to be installed at the Dexter Wastewater Treatment Plant. The equipment would include a day tank, equipment scale, feed pumps, double anti-siphon devices on pump discharges, flow switch interlocks installed on high service pumps and other necessary pipes and valves.
The fluoride would have to be stored in a separate containment area when there a overflows or in the event of a burst container of the substance.
The equipment would cost between $40,000 and $50,000 for purchase and installation, according to OHM’s assessment.
The necessity of storing fluoride in a separate building not structurally attached to the wastewater treatment plant would further add to the overall costs, according to the report.
“Fluoride is a caustic chemical and its storage should be isolated from the remainder of the facility,” Gronevelt said. “Since there is no unused space (at the plant), a separate chemical feed building/room would need to be installed to do so.”
The chemical room would have to be 10 by 10 feet for adequate storage. The fiberglass reinforced plastic enclosure would cost an additional $25,000. The shed also includes safety eyewash stations and showers, as well as all of the necessary equipment for storage and dealing with the fumes that fluoride produces.
With the shed and estimated engineering costs it would cost the village $79,000 join the list of communities that fluoridate, including Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Manchester, Saline, Jackson, Bright and Howell.
The yearly chemical cost for fluoride would be about $6,000 per year based on average flowrate of 1.2 million gallons per day usage or $9,100 for the future flowrate of 1.7 MGD.
Gronevelt added that there would be more expense down the road once the village comes to an agreement on the fifth well site on the high school property off of Shield Road once Dexter Community Schools are ready to sign off on the property.
There are also two yearly state Department of Environmental Quality inspections, one of which involves dismantling the equipment so DEP inspectors can assess it. Gronevelt said he was not sure of the yearly cost associated with those inspections.
Village Manager Donna Dettling voiced her thoughts on fluoridation.
“We just don’t want to go there,” she said. “There isn’t this groundswell of support (for it). We’re not getting calls every day asking us to put fluoride in the water.”