WHEN you pour yourself a glass straight from the tap today you may very well be quenching your thirst with fluoridated water.
Whether you like it or not, fluoride will start flowing into Mackay’s water supply this morning.
Those living closest to the Nebo Road water treatment plant will get the first drops of fluoridated water and it won’t be long before it’ streaming right through to the Northern Beaches.
Mackay Regional Council acting director of water and waste services David Brooker said the fluoride would be “flicked on” in the morning but it would be some time before it came out of all Mackay taps.
“It may take many days for the fluoride to be all through the system,” he said.
Mr Brooker said the introduction of fluoride to the water supply would begin at the lower end of the dosage rate to ensure everything ran smoothly.
The treatment plant is required to add between 0.6 and 0.9 parts of fluoride per million parts of water – the equivalent to one drop in a bathtub full of water.
A flow meter, required for dosage purposes, has been inserted into a pipe at the treatment plant.
There are mixed feelings in the community about the move, with some concerned about potential side effects.
Mackay resident Kat Wallace, who enjoyed a glass of fluoride-free water yesterday, said she wasn’t fussed.
“I don’t think that they would be adding it to the water if it wasn’t safe and I need to stay hydrated,” she said.
However, North Mackay resident Bob Hollis wasn’t convinced.
“Once it gets in the water you (personally) can’t control it,” he said.
“All in all I think it’s a very sad day.”
However, the Mackay Regional Council had little choice in the matter. It was required to introduce fluoride into the water supply by December 31 to comply with State Government legislation.
If the council had refused, the government had the power to begin fluoridation at ratepayers’ expense.
The Nebo Road water treatment plant services about 30,000 connections across Mackay.
And it won’t be long before Sarina and Mirani residents will also be sipping fluoridated water, with their treatment plants to be fluoridated by the end of next year.