Port Macquarie-Hastings Council says fluoridation of the public water supply began on Monday.
The council said it had approval from the NSW Office of Water, that its standard operating procedure for the plant met the requirements of the NSW Code of Practice for Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies 2011.
Construction of the fluoridation plant funded by NSW Department of Health was completed in November 2011.
Approval to start fluoridation of the water supply was granted by the department in January 2012.
Council administrator Neil Porter said Port Macquarie-Hastings region now joins 95 per cent of NSW in delivering fluoridated water through its reticulated water supply system.
“Governments and councils are elected to make difficult decisions and implement actions in the best interest of the whole community.
“This is what council did in 2004 and this decision is now being implemented,” Mr Porter said. “Council has signed a $1.78 million funding agreement with (the department) for the construction of the fluoridation plant.
“The conditions of this funding agreement require council to refund this amount if fluoridation is not commenced and/or discontinued within a period of 15 years.”
Residents living in Wauchope, Beechwood, Rawdon Island, Sancrox, King Creek and Thrumster areas will be the first to have fluoride in the water supply system.
The level of fluoride provided to the reticulated water supplies in the Port Macquarie and Camden Haven areas will gradually increase over the next six to 12 months.
Regular updates will be available on the council’s website indicating the fluoride levels in these areas.
Reticulated water supplies at the rural villages of Comboyne, Long Flat and Telegraph Point will not be provided with fluoridated water.
Further information about the addition of fluoride to water supplies, including fact sheets and contacts for the Department of Health, is available from the council’s website.
Opponents of fluoridation say they will continue their opposition.
Spokesperson for the local chapter of Fluoride Action Network (Australia), retired dentist Caree Alexander, said the council was wrong to rely on the Fluoridation Act.
“The Act does not stand alone, and this was proved in the Land and Environment Court last year,” she said. “As council has not done an Environmental Impact Statement and cannot guarantee safety to human health, it is leading itself into a virtually guaranteed legal challenge.
“Nor does the fiscal argument add up. Over 15 years, fluoridation will cost a minimum $3.75 million to operate, and probably double that.”