Fluoride Action Network

Ebensburg Municipal Authority weighing fluoride issue

Source: The Tribune-Democrat | October 23rd, 2017 | By ?Jocelyn Brumbaugh

EBENSBURG – With the Greater Johnstown Authority’s unanimous vote in July to stop adding fluoride to the water it supplies customers, Ebensburg’s Municipal Authority is discussing its next steps on the issue.

During an Ebensburg Borough Council meeting Monday, council was notified of its municipal authority’s Oct. 16 decision to cease adding fluoride to residents’ water.

Doug Tusing, president of council and a member of the municipal authority, said the decision made in Johnstown prompted discussion of the topic, but was not the reason for the decision.

Ebensburg’s Municipal Authority does purchase water from the Greater Johnstown Water Authority to serve residents located in the westernmost area of its jurisdiction.

Both Councilman Dave Kuhar and Ebensburg Mayor Randy Datsko said they’d received phone calls about the decision, as has Jerry McMullen, chairman of the municipal authority, who attended Monday’s meeting.

Kuhar asked whether anyone with the municipal authority had reached out to anyone in the dental health community, considering fluoride is a mineral used to fight tooth decay.

Tusing said the authority had not spoken with any local dentists about the issue, but pointed out a majority of toothpastes contain fluoride, and a growing number of residents are opting to consume bottled water.

McMullen said the decision about fluoridation was made during a meeting where multiple authority members were absent and anticipates the topic will come up for discussion again at the authority’s next meeting at 4 p.m. Nov. 20 in the borough building.

“There are pros and cons to it,” he said, adding the authority has opted to add fluoride to its water since around the 1960s and is now one of few municipalities to continue doing so.

A permit amendment necessary to stop the addition of fluoride to Ebensburg Municipal Authority water customers has not been submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection, McMullen added.

Until that is completed, fluoride will continue to be added to water supplied to authority customers.

Council also discussed its upcoming wastewater project, which Borough Manager Dan Penatzer estimates will soon be advertised for bids, which would be awarded in January. Construction would begin in March or April.

The borough was approved for a $9 million loan to complete the project through PennVEST on Wednesday, but will not have any grant funding to offset any of those costs.

Project engineers Stiffler-McGraw already completed preliminary design for the project, which is necessary to comply with a DEP order to eliminate combined sewer overflows in the borough.

The project calls for elimination of all stormwater from the new system to prevent unnecessary treatment and system overflows during heavy rains.

With the implementation of a new system, the borough mandated pressure testing, noting that many of the borough’s older homes have terra-cotta pipes that will not pass the pressure testing and will need to be replaced.

Although engineers have worked to avoid ripping up stretches of roads paved in the borough’s downtown area this summer, “a majority of the main lines of the borough will be replaced,” during the project, Penatzer said.

Approximately 300 easements required for the project’s completion have been mailed to affected properties, including those for six borough-owned locations council approved to the Ebensburg Municipal Authority in a unanimous vote.

*Original article online at http://www.tribdem.com/news/ebensburg-municipal-authority-weighing-fluoride-issue/article_ebb01750-b869-11e7-82db-3b4ce20e8c9a.html