FLUORIDE should be introduced at Corowa and Howlong by July, more than five years after a divided shire council voted tentatively in favour of adding the chemical.
Mulwala township is also scheduled to get fluoridated water but the council is still waiting for Thales to determine how its explosives factory can receive a non-fluoridated supply separate from the town supply.
Councillors voted 5-4 in early 2007 to investigate options for fluoride after learning that neighbouring Yarrawonga was likely to get fluoride as a widely accepted teeth protection measure.
But the issue was debated hotly in 2009 and it wasn’t until April 2010 that Corowa councillors voted 6-2 to proceed.
Director of engineering John Babbs said the NSW Public Works Department had given him a program for adding fluoride at Corowa and Howlong.
It was finalising the contract documents and after tendering, assessments and approvals, expected that construction would occur after Easter.
The government pays for the equipment but the council will buy the chemical.
Corowa had for years defied the pro-fluoride policy of the NSW government, the Shires Association, the Australian Dental Association, the Australian Medical Association, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the World Health Organisation.
In 1998 the council chose not to fluoridate the Corowa township water supply after a survey of 2300 people found 58 per cent were opposed, and Howlong people expressed similar opposed about the same time.
A new filtration plant for Corowa was built with provision for fluoridation if public opinion changed, or if legislation was passed to make it mandatory.
Mulwala dentist Dr John Charles repeatedly urged the council to introduce fluoride.
The issue of the explosives factory requiring a non-fluoride supply because of its chemical processes has dragged on for several months but consultants GHD is now examining the problem.
Explosives production involves chemicals such as nitric acid, sulphuric acid, mercury, cadmium, ethyl ether, ethanol and acetone.