WESTERN GROVE — The Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority (OMRPWA) has been granted an extension to comply with a state law requiring the addition of fluoride into the water.

At the July 9 board meeting held at Western Grove City Hall, chairman Andy Anderson said the Arkansas Department of Health had granted the water authority an extension until December to comply with Act 197, which mandates the addition of fluoride into water supplies serving 5,000 or more customers.

Anderson also said he had written a request to Gov. Asa Hutchinson that he grant an exception to Act 197 for OMRPWA. Anderson reported that Hutchinson had not agreed outright, but he would consult with the ADH and the Surgeon General.

The OMRPWA lately has had a number of unforeseen expenses.

Sliding, resulting from heavy rains, caused a break in a line between Jasper and Mt. Sherman. Leaks have also occurred in Jasper and St. Joe. Anderson said repairs to the three sites cost $43,433.

In addition, the leak at St. Joe caused the pump to burn out. According to Anderson, repairs are estimated at $65,000, and he was told it might be eight weeks before all necessary parts are obtained. The figures were provided by a company in Stuttgart.

Anderson was also informed that a pump could be leased while the other is being repaired. Cost of the lease would be $22,000 for the first month and $10,140 for the second.

Anderson told the board that he would try to get information from other companies and report back.

Members of the board will be in Little Rock on July 14 to plead its case for financial assistance. Anderson is also working with the water authority’s insurance company, hoping to get financial relief.