FRANKLIN — A mechanical malfunction of fluoridation equipment led to a violation of state drinking water standards for some water system customers, according to a press release from the Franklin city manager’s office.
An overfeed of the chemical additive at the Barrett Flats Water Treatment Plant led to fluoride levels that exceeded that state maximum of 2 milligrams per liter, according to the statement. Officials did not specify what level of contamination the fluoride reached or how many people were affected, but they advised that children younger than 9 years old be provided alternative sources of drinking water until they are notified.
The excess fluoride was discovered Feb. 8 and is believed to have started on Feb. 1, according to the statement. The fluoridation system was shut down, hydrants have been flushed and storage tanks are being drawn down and refilled with new water in an effort to lower the fluoride level as officials from the city and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection continue testing water throughout the system. Residents were encouraged to use water for bathing and laundry as part of the effort to purge water with excess fluoride from the system.
Excess fluoride can cause staining or pitting of teeth in young children and can even increase the risk of bone disease, but city officials downplayed the risk.
“This is not an emergency,” the news release stated. “If it had been, you would have been notified immediately.”
Cases of bottled water were available for those affected at the Franklin Fire Department, 113 13th St.