POTSDAM — The issue of whether or not to continue adding fluoride to the village water has been discussed at length by both the public and trustees over the past several months. Now at least one of the issues may be put to rest — the issue of whether the village legally owns the Raquette River, which it uses as a source of water, and whether that matters.

The state laws pertaining to fluoridation lay out a number of requirements that municipalities must meet if they decide to stop fluoridating the water. But part of those laws refer specifically to “Any county, wherein a public authority owns both its public water system and the water supply for such system.”

In November, Trustee Stephen J. Warr said that village had to get legal advice on whether or not the village owned the river — its water supply — and, if not, whether that would mean they could cease fluoridating the water without meeting the various state requirements.

On Tuesday, Gregory O. Thompson, the village administrator, said he spoke with Andrew W. Silver, the village’s attorney, on the issue. According to Mr. Thompson, Mr. Silver’s reading of the law is that ownership of the source of water does not matter when it comes to discontinuing fluoridation. Regardless of whether a municipality owns the water source or not, it must comply with the state requirements, which include providing alternatives and consulting with health professionals.

“Can you discontinue it? Sure,” Mr. Thompson said. “But you’ve got to follow those steps that the state lays out.”

The village has been considering upgrades to the water treatment plant and received a grant from the state to do an engineering study on its fluoridation equipment to see what it would take to rehabilitate the system. But a number of residents, along with Mr. Warr, have publicly announced that they oppose continuing fluoridation at all, while several local dentists and dental surgeons have spoken publicly in support of continued fluoridation.

Mr. Thompson says the village will have to make a decision soon, as, among other issues, the stock of fluoride is running low and will have to be re-ordered if the village is to continue.

“This isn’t something we can keep dragging our heels, hemming and hawing” about, he said. “The ownership is really immaterial at this point.”

*Original article online at http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/potsdam-receives-legal-advice-on-water-source-fluoridation–20171206