After the public voiced support of leaving fluoride in the drinking water, the Keyser Council decided Wednesday to let it remain in the water.
“We have got emails from locals and as far away as California and the response that we have got has overwhelmingly been in opposition to any change in the fluoride program. We have no intention of moving anything further with that,” said Mayor Randy Amtower, noting that the council decided to remove the matter off the table. “We would like to thank the public for their response because that was our goal. If you don’t tell us what you want then we don’t know.”
At the last water board meeting, water plant Supervisor Bobby Paugh suggested removing the fluoride from the water as a way to cut costs. Amtower commended Paugh for coming up with ideas on ways to conserve money.
Water fluoridation prevents tooth decay, mainly by providing teeth with frequent contact with the low levels of daily fluoride, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even with other sources of fluoride, studies show that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent over a person’s lifetime.
Also during the meeting, Amtower suggested that the council apply for Small Cities Block Grant funding for about $50,000 toward a reducing system for the water tank on?Limestone Road. The tank needs to be reduced to make it level with the other tanks. If the water tank is reduced, it could circulate 1 million gallons back into the water system, giving the city 3.2 million gallons of storage capacity, according to Amtower.
“In light of what just happened in Charleston, I started to think about us and the situation that we are in,” said Amtower.
Citizens in Charleston were left without water when crude MCHM and PPH leaked into the Elk River.
“There is always the potential that we could be in the situation that Charleston was just in the last few days should a fuel tank or something upset in New Creek,” said Amtower.
Paugh echoed Amtower’s sentiments.
“I don’t want to get into a situation like they did in Charleston because things can go wrong real quick,” said Paugh.
The city has about a day’s water supply. The water project that is ongoing will more than double the supply of water if the city is in a conservation mode.
If a reducing system is placed on the tank on?Limestone Road, it would give the city about four days of water in an emergency situation, according to Amtower.?The extra water would buy the city a little time to get resources flowing, said Amtower.
Applying for the grant funding won’t cost the citizens anything, according to Amtower. He suggested that if the council members come up with any other requests for Small Cities Block Grant funding to speak with Shannon Marsh, city administrator. The deadline for the grant request is March 10.
In other news, the water plants have been draining the clear wells in order to install new valves, which has caused air to go into the system, which in turn makes the water cloudy, according to Paugh.
“The water may look milky or cloudy but if you let it sit out for a while it will clear up,” said Paugh. “The water is still healthy and safe to drink.”
The water will remain cloudy until all the valves are installed, according to Paugh.
Amtower noted that there is a lot of work going on in regard to the rebuilding of the water plant.
The water plant has a new generator, which will run the whole plant once everything is completed.
“Even if there is a complete power failure, we will still be able to produce water and carry on with business as usual,” said Amtower.