Caption under Photo: Gannawarra Shire community health manager Narelle O’Donoghue, Gannawarra Shire Council director of community wellbeing Stacy Williams, Coliban Water executive general manager of service delivery Danny McLean and Parliamentary Secretary for Health Anthony Carbines on a tour of the Cohuna Water Treatment Plan recently.
FLUORIDE has been introduced to Cohuna’s drinking water to improve residents’ dental health.
Coliban Water, which manages Cohuna’s town water supply, started introducing fluoride to the town’s water supply last week.
“Oral health presents a significant area of disadvantage in Gannawarra,” Gannawarra Shire Council chief executive Tom O’Reilly said.
“Children in particular experience higher rates of tooth decay compared to the state average and community water fluoridation is proven to be a safe and effective method of reducing such issues.
“Following on from a National Health and Medical Research funded Rural Engaging Communities in Oral Health project from 2014-16, council included the need to advocate for the fluoridation of the Cohuna town water supply in the Council Plan 2017-2021.
Mr O’Reilly said council had spent the past four years working with Coliban Water and the Department of Health to make fluoridation a reality.
Coliban Water senior water quality and regulatory advisor David Sheehan said it had been directed by the Department of Health to deliver this initiative under the Health (Fluoridation) Act 1973 to improve the dental health of the Cohuna community.
“This has involved making changes to our Cohuna Water Treatment Plant to prepare for the addition of fluoride and ensure that appropriate water treatment and dosing processes are in place,” he said.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Angie Bone said the introduction of fluoride to the water supply was a great outcome for this community which had been fully supportive of the move.
“Water fluoridation is safe, effective and recommended by leading national and international health organisations,” she said.
Dr Bone said more than 96 per cent of Victorians drank water with either naturally occurring or added fluoride, and the addition of fluoride would not change the safety of the drinking water produced at the plant.
“We have been working to ensure adequate notice and information has been available to the residents of Cohuna prior to the addition of fluoride,” Mr Sheehan said.
Cohuna is the 24th town in the region to have fluoride added to its water, and the second town in Gannawarra to benefit from similar works.
“Council congratulates the Department of Health and Coliban Water for their role in making this a reality, which will have lasting benefits for Cohuna’s residents now and into the future,” Mr O’Reilly said.