Fluoride Action Network

Riverton discontinues water fluoridation

December 13th, 2004 | By Alina Kalm
Location: United States, Utah

DECEMBER 2004: The Riverton City Council has voted unanimously to shut down the distribution of fluoride in the city’s water until they receive a court order from Salt Lake County to begin putting it back in.

Riverton Water Director Scott Hill appeared before the city council Nov. 9 and expressed his concern about the safety of employees who have to deal with the acidic fluoride. “When your employees have to wear a moon suit to deal with it, you don’t want that,” he said.

According to Hill, if an employee’s skin was exposed to the fluoride the molecules in the acid could penetrate the skin and attack the individual’s bone structures and other organs.

“Even poison control doesn’t know how to deal with it,” he said.

Earlier this year White City filed a lawsuit against Salt Lake County stating that since they were on a “functionally separate” water system that they could choose for themselves whether or not to fluoridate.

The Salt Lake County Health Department’s definition of a functionally separate water system is one that relies exclusively on its own water sources independent of any other public water system.

“We fall into that category (being functionally separate),” said Hill.

Attorney Paul Ashton was able to get the White City lawsuit dismissed. They are no longer required to fluoridate their water, he said. Riverton has now retained Ashton to advise the city council on how to proceed.

The health department and White City worked cooperatively to make the statute make sense,” Ashton said, but he added, “each system is unique and has to be examined individually.”

For the time being, Riverton residents will still be drinking fluoridated water because the city’s water department has switched to Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District water.

“We’re burning up our contract,” said Hill.

By the end of December most residents will be drinking Riverton water again. It will depend upon what agreements the attorney, the Health Department and Riverton’s City Council have made as to whether or not the water will be fluoridated again.

The water provided to residents from 4800 West to the “high end” (west) of the city has always been provided by Jordan Valley Water District.

The rest of the area is serviced by Riverton City for the most part of the year, but a contract between the city and the water district stipulates that
Riverton will pay for 600 acre feet of water whether it is used or not. So for part of the year most of Riverton gets Jordan Valley water.

“I don’t think it’s the government’s responsibility to fluoridate,” said Hill.