Cornwall’s water has been without fluoride for two years after a faulty valve at the water treatment plant forced officials to stop adding hydrofluorosilicic acid to the system. In that time councillors have been back and forth over the issue several times.
“It remains status quo. There will be nothing done,” said Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy. “The equipment required has not been installed – I don’t think it’s been purchased either.”
It would cost the city about $300,000 to install the equipment and $50,000 annually going forward.
Council has at least four options, including the potential for a referendum, to address the issue of fluoridating the Cornwall water supply. While a referendum may be palatable to some, if it is planned prior to the next municipal election the cost balloons to $150,000, instead of the cheaper $10,000 option for voting day.
Councillors would also have to wade into the phrasing of a question.
With new faces around the council table, it is likely a new round of presentations will be made to council on the subject.
“You have new councillors around this table who don’t have the health board’s portion of it,” said Coun. Andre Rivette, a member of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit board. “We have to hear from the health department.
“If you don’t give them the courtesy of making a presentation to the new councillors, you’re doing a disservice.”
The workers at the water treatment plant are also requesting time to make a presentation to council on the issue, presumably against the practice from a health and safety prespective.
Note from FAN:
Cornwall is less than a mile downwind (as the crow flies) to two aluminum plants located in Massena, New York. They are the source for the high levels of fluoride found in a 1998 study on foliage and soil levels in Cornwall. Cornwall abuts the St. Lawrence River at the junction named an Area of Concern in the Great Lakes basin for mercury and PCB contamination. It also is a city that has contamination issues from from past heavy industrial practices. Statistics from Health Canada reveal that Cornwall residents have significantly more health problems than most of Ontario’s other cities.