HUMBOLDT – Fluoridating Northern Humboldt County’s water would cost the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD) $325,000 to construct facilities and $46,000 in annual expenses.

The costs would be split proportionately among the district’s seven water customers, which are the cities of Eureka, Arcata and Blue Lake plus community service districts in Cutten (Humboldt), McKinleyville, Fieldbrook and Manila. Eureka and Arcata already fluoridate their water.

The costs were described in a $19,000 report by Kennedy/Jenks Consultants. The study considered only technical aspects of adding fluoride to water, not whether it is effective or safe.

Fluoridation is required by state law in public water systems that serve more than 10,000 customers. The HBMWD has fewer than 10,000, making fluoridation optional.

The report evaluated three types of fluoride for addition to local water: sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate and hydrofluorosilicic acid. Based on cost, safety, and ease of handling, the report recommends use of liquid hydrofluorosilicic acid.

Hardware requirements would include a 4,500 gallon chemical storage tank, plus associated pumps, plumbing, metering, analyzers and other equipment.

The HBMWD board will consider the new study at its Thursday, Feb. 14 meeting