Once the tap is opened from the Virginia/Carolina Regional Water Authority’s intake on New River, drinking water in the towns of Sparta and Independence, Va. will include fluoride for the first time.
Fluoride is a chemical included in toothpaste and other products that dental professionals say helps strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Most larger cities also fluoridate their water supplies. However, some have voiced concerns about what they consider health concerns about adding the chemical to public drinking water.
Water supplies in the two towns currently comes from a number of aging wells, which are treated only with chlorine for water safety purposes. However, the water authority has stated that it expects water from its intake on New River will be flowing to both towns by late this year, thus allowing fluoride to be added to supplies.
At a brief meeting last Thursday, the authority’s board received packets including information about the fluoride plans. The Independence Town Council passed a resolution at its Dec. 8, 2009 meeting to add fluoride to the water. At the meeting, the council discussed the history of fluoridation and it was noted that the Virginia health department system supports the move.
Engineer Bobby Lane stressed the importance of making the people in the two towns aware of the move. A grant for $15,000 is paying for the fluoride equipment that will be used at the new plant. The grant also pays for the fluoride chemical for the first year.
The Sparta Town Council has discussed the matter, but not taken formal action, said Sparta Town Manager Bryan Edwards, who also serves as chairman of the water authority. Edwards noted that the Appalachian Regional Health Department also supports putting fluoride in water supplies, as do many in the medical community.
“The Council generally was favorable of it, but we just didn’t take a vote on it,” Edwards said during an interview Monday.
“We may be voting on a resolution in support of fluoridation in the next few months.”
Edwards said state authorities typically take a neutral stance on fluoridation of water supplies, but Town of Independence Manager Kenneth Vaught noted that Virginia authorities endorse fluoridation.
When the vote was taken on a motion by Vaught seconded by board member Chris Morton, who represents Grayson County, the move passed unanimously.
Budget Matters The water authority discussed it’s budget at the most recent meeting, with a treasury report dated Jan. 14 showing an available