Months after the construction of a new state-of-the-art treatment plant, board officers for the South Blount Utility District still wrestle with the issue of fluoridating the system’s water.

At the district’s Tuesday board meeting, board officers asked an engineering company, now working with the district on a grant for water lines, to put together a list of reasons for fluoridating and not fluoridating the water.

It’s not an easy issue to get a handle on, according to vice-president of the board, Virginia Morton.

“The information is endless,” she said.

The board is considering an outreach to its 13,000 customers about the issue, but what material the district will send out has not yet been decided.

“We’re going to try to get something to the customers,” said Tom Abbott, board secretary. “We’ll decide something at the next meeting.”

They took no action to survey or poll the customers at the Tuesday meeting.

South Blount Utility began selling water from its plant in June last year. The treatment plant uses membrane filtration technology and draws its water from the Tellico River.

Customers have come out for and against fluoridation, and they have been articulate, said Morton. Two Web sites have been built with information in support of and in opposition to the use of fluoride in public water sources.

About 200 people in the past month have let the South Blount District office know, by letter or phone, their opinions on the issue. The majority, according to board officers, favor not fluoridating.

U.S. Public Health Services endorse the use of fluoridation in public water supplies, but it is not required by state or federal law.