SOUTH West Rocks will have fluoridated drinking water by July.

The town will be the first in the Macleay to have its water supply fluoridated, with Kempsey and Crescent Head to follow 12 months later.

Council’s director of Shire Services Bruce Morris said South West Rocks would come online earlier than the other two plants thanks mainly to the town’s new water treatment facility.

“The NSW Office of Water has very strict specifications and guidelines for facilities with fluoride and the plants in Kempsey and Crescent Head have not been constructed yet,” he said.

“In the case of South West Rocks the fluoridation facility was built as part of the new water treatment plant.”

The plant still requires final approval from the NSW Office of Water, and the council must then undergo a rigorous public consultation and education process.

Mr Morris anticipated public consultation would begin some time in late February or early March.

NSW Health will foot the bill to construct all three fluoridation plants, while the council will cover the running costs.

The State Government says fluoridation of drinking water provides a significant oral health benefit by reducing dental caries, along with the associated savings in the cost of dental treatment.

Bellbrook, Willawarrin and Stuarts Point will be the only communities in the Macleay not fluoridated from next year.

“Kempsey includes the Lower Macleay Water Scheme, Smithtown, Glad-stone and all the rural residential areas surrounding the town,” Mr Morris said.