WHILE local governments now hold the future of water fluoridation in their hands, the question for Lockyer Valley and Somerset residents could be what the cost of the change is.
With both councils drawing water from the Lowood water treatment plant, any split decision could prove costly to residents.
Although previously controlled by the Esk, Gatton and Laidley Water Board, the plant is now owned by SEQWater, which controls all bulk water supplies for south-east Queensland.
Community members have contacted the Gatton Star asking if fluoride will be removed from the water supply following the passing of the legislation.
An SEQWater spokesman acknowledged the water treatment plant could play a major role in any community debate on fluoridation, but said there had been no requests from either Lockyer Valley or Somerset Regional Councils about the cost of removing fluoride from the drinking water supplies.
“The new legislation gives the councils the power to choose if they fluoridate the water supply or not,” the spokesman said.
However, with a single plant providing town water to the council areas, the spokesman said there was an issue of the cost of putting fluoride into one water supply but not another.
“We have not yet investigated the cost and practicality of how to remove fluoride from the water,” he said.
Instead, he said SEQWater is waiting for a request from one or both of the councils before it investigates the issue, regardless of community sentiment.
The spokesman said requests did not become “real” to SEQWater unless they were made from a local government.
“We do not feel this excludes the consumer from the debate. We have no doubt the elected councils will share that information.”
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The previous Queensland Government introduced legislation mandating fluoridated water by December 31
New legislation by the current government on November 29 allows councils to decide for themselves
Lowood Water Treatment Plant provides water to Lockyer Valley and Somerset residents
Health regulations allow a maximum of 1.5 milligrams per litre