Greenwood is shooting for a July 20 date to begin fluoridating its drinking water, a move mandated by the state.
The city initially hoped to begin fluoridating its water by April 1, but had to wait on a prefabricated building to house the necessary equipment at the city’s water treatment plant. The operation was inspected Thursday by the state health department.
“They had to do just a check to make sure everything was correct,” wastewater department director Greg Cross said. “I think we’re actually going to start putting it in on July 20.”
Greenwood serves nearly 9,000 water customers, according to the wastewater department. In 2011, Arkansas legislators passed a law requiring water systems serving 5,000 or more customers to fluoridate their public water when funding became available. Like other cities, Greenwood is using a grant from Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation to fund the fluoridation effort. The city received $124,000 to cover startup costs.
More than 70 percent of the city’s water is purchased from the James Fork Regional Water District, which already fluoridates, according to Cross. In February, he said the amount of fluoride when mixed with the city’s own water is not enough to meet state standards.
Steve Ratterree, chairman of the city’s water/wastewater commission, said the city is notifying city water customers of the change via monthly bills. The fluoridation law, Act 197, affects 34 Arkansas water systems, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. The city of Fort Smith is preparing to fluoridate its drinking water in early 2016.
Nearly a year ago, the Fort Smith Board of Directors accepted a $1.8 million grant from Delta Dental for the fluoridation effort at the city’s two water treatment plants. Fort Smith is the largest city in the state without fluoridated water. City voters turned down fluoridation twice in popular votes in the 1970s and in 1992.
*Original article online at http://www.swtimes.com/article/20150711/NEWS/307119929