The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is set to advance one of its most hot-button projects: a bid to introduce fluoride to most of the county’s drinking water to improve dental health.
A new county report concludes that move, though still in its study phase, would be feasible, although it could also be complex and expensive.
The issue has been at the center of a long-running local debate, pitting medical experts and other supporters against critics skeptical of government-driven health initiatives and mainstream science.
The new report could bring fiscal watchdogs into the mix.
Based on preliminary estimates, the project could cost up to $8.5 million in capital upgrades to the county’s central water system, plus ongoing upkeep starting at $973,000 a year, the report found. It was released Thursday and authorized by the Board of Supervisors last year.
The project would affect three quarters of the county, including 350,000 residents served by the Sonoma County Water Agency in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma, Sonoma, Forestville and the Valley of the Moon. More than 50,000 Novato-area residents served by the county Water Agency also would get fluoridated water for the first time…