Restoration of fluoride to water when it is treated at the Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant is on the agenda for the Wilkesboro Town Council meeting Monday night.
Wilkesboro Town Manager Ken Noland said the council is expected to vote then on whether fluoride should again be added to water when it is treated at the plant.
Although not discussed in public or voted on by the council beforehand, he stated during a council work session on Sept. 12 that the town stopped putting fluoride in the water in June 2015.
He said he made this decision with input from staff at the water treatment plant.
He said at the Sept. 12 meeting that fluoridation at the water treatment plant was officially being discontinued.
Wilkesboro Mayor Mike Inscore said today, “Based upon the medical community’s response, we were presented with scientific documentation that gave justification for the board to consider using fluoride rather than just not continuing it. There was enough prevailing documentation that justified reconsidering our previous decision.”
Inscore added, “It’s my opinion that the board will approve using fluoride. We will probably get started with it right away.”
A resolution calling for the immediate reinstatement of fluoride to the Wilkesboro water system is on the agenda for approval at the meeting Monday.
The resolution says the town discontinued fluoridation in 2015 due to lack of fluoride and equipment degradation.
It also says that after the public was notified of this change at the September 2016 council meeting, referring to the Sept. 12 work session, the professional dental and medical community responded immediately with concern about the lack of fluoride in the water.
Fluoride had been added to water at the Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant as a method of preventing tooth decay since the early 1960s.
According to Wilkesboro Utilities Director Sam Call, when the town previously added fluoride, it was the minimum amount of fluoride shown to be effective, .070 mg/liter.
Noland said that since announcing the end of fluoridation in Wilkesboro during the Sept. 12 work session, he has received “a tremendous amount of outpouring from the dental and medical community concerning this, providing me with journal articles and other supporting documentation” in favor of fluoridation.
“At the same time I’ve had little response from those who have the other opinion, so I will give it back to the council and let them make a decision,” Noland said.
He said fluoridation was put on hold in June 2015 during a shortage of fluoride. He said it was also discovered then that equipment used to process fluoride was showing signs of degradation.
The Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant supplies the Moravian Falls Water Association with water. The Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro water treatment plants also supply the West Wilkes Water Association.
Fluoride is still added to water at the North Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, fluoride was added to 87.8 percent of community water systems in North Carolina as of December 2014.