REDLAND City residents will not start drinking fluoridated water until late next year.
The State Government will soon add fluoride to South East Queensland water supplies as part of a statewide plan to improve dental health, with the first fluoride units due to begin operating at major water treatment plants next month.
The first phase includes installation of dosage units at Mt Crosby and North Pine treatment plants – providing fluoridated water to much of greater Brisbane – along with the operation of dosage units on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
An Infrastructure Department spokesman confirmed Redland City supplies were not part of the initial phase but said the rollout plan indicated local residents would start drinking fluoridated water by December 2009.
“Fluoride will be added to the water supply from a dosing unit that will be installed at the Capalaba water treatment plant by Seqwater,” he told The Redland Times.
This will affect any water drawn from Leslie Harrison Dam.
Moves are also afoot to fluoridate water from North Stradbroke Island’s Herring Lagoon and borefields.
Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority, known as Seqwater, says this will happen at the North Stradbroke Island water treatment plant, from which water flows to the mainland and into Redland City’s south-eastern suburbs.
Seqwater external relations principal adviser Mike Foster said smaller water treatment plants at Amity Point, Point Lookout and Dunwich would also be fluoridated in the rollout by December 31, 2009.
More precise timeframes will be known when tenders are awarded for the Redland City projects.
Tenders are expected to be called in the first quarter of next year.
FLUORIDE FAST FACTS
WHAT IS FLUORIDE?
Fluoride compounds and ions are found naturally in plants, soil, minerals, rivers and water sources. Fluoride helps stabilise the mineral content of bones and teeth to prevent tooth decay. (Source: Australian Dental Association)
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
The State Government points to a 1996 study that showed Townsville children (where water supplies are already fluoridated) had about 40 per cent less tooth decay than Brisbane children.
WHY IS IT CONTROVERSIAL?
Critics have raised concern over whether fluoride is safe and some say the government should not engage in “mass medication”.