Second District Judge Glen Dawson will decide June 4 whether Woods Cross can be exempt from Davis County’s plan to fluoridate all drinking water.
Dawson heard arguments Friday on joint motions from both the city and the county and took the issue under advisement.
The county has ordered Woods Cross and all other Davis communities to begin adding fluoride to the drinking water this month. This is in response to a November 2000 countywide referendum in which voters approved fluoridating the drinking water.
Proponents believe fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. But opponents dislike the idea of putting the substance into the drinking water because they think it’s unsafe and it violates the rights of water consumers.
Woods Cross was the only Davis County community that voted down the referendum. In August 2001, the Woods Cross City Council accepted a citizen petition opposing fluoridation of the city’s water supply.
Attorney Michael Hays, representing the city, said the judge now must decide whether Woods Cross meets the exemptions of a state law enacted in 2000 that would permit a city to not take part in the fluoridation program.
Woods Cross officials argue their city does meet these exemptions, particularly because they say it possesses a “functionally separate” water system that can easily get by using only the water from its own wells.
However, in the past it has had a contract with the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District to receive water for a few months each year, although it is not getting water from there currently.
Perhaps Woods Cross is using its own water supply at this time, but at the time of the referendum, it was receiving water from the Weber Basin and that should be a consideration, said Gerry Hess, chief civil deputy attorney for Davis County. It’s possible that, given such things as droughts or population growth, Woods Cross would change its stand in the future.
The judge said he wants to limit his role in this only to matters of law and respects the decisions of voters. “I’m not making the decision of who gets fluoride and who does not, or whether fluoride is good or bad,” Dawson said. “I don’t have an opinion on that at all.”