YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The Town Board on Tuesday, Dec. 18, took its first concrete step toward returning fluoride to the water supplied by the Catskill Aqueduct to residents by authorizing a transfer of $209,000 from the Water District’s fund balance to pay the design consultant of a new fluoridation system, thereby establishing it as a capital project.

The board in July had authorized Supervisor Ilan Gilbert to sign an agreement with Arcadis of New York to design the system at the Catskill facility of the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works. Although that facility serves both residents on the west side of Yorktown and those in Cortlandt, the fluoridation system will only serve Yorktown customers. The fluoride feed system at the Catskill plant has been offline since January 2013.

The balance of Yorktown’s drinking water, about 33 percent, comes from the Amawalk Water Treatment Facility. The Northern Westchester Joint Water Works stopped adding fluoride at that plant in October 2017 due to the hydraulics of Yorktown’s distribution system, which affected the level of fluoride being delivered. Fluoride will begin flowing again at both locations when the fluoridation system at Catskill is completed.

Once the $209,000 is expended, the town will be reimbursed through a state grant of $901,000 the town received in June to cover the full cost of the fluoridation system. The town has up to 18 months to complete the project.

Gilbert said that concerns about the fluoridation project were raised at the budget hearing earlier in December and that the board felt, “if we could, we’d like to go ahead with the project.”

“I think we’re glad to say it looks like we’ll be able to go forward with the grant, but in such a way we will not be jeopardizing any of our other funds.”

He also admitted to some ignorance about the benefits of fluoridation.

“I was under the misimpression that it was only important for children and their development within the first 6 years of their lives,” he said. “I now have learned that it is also important for our seniors in town because as we get older, we get into a situation where our gums recede,” exposing more enamel, which fluoride helps protect.

*Original article online at https://www.tapinto.net/towns/yorktown/articles/yorktown-aims-to-return-fluoride-to-drinking-water