“We want to have further research done,” said Mayor Paula Assaly during a phone interview April 27.
Six years ago, when René Berthiaume was mayor, there was a suggestion made to town council to consider adopting a bylaw for a future halt to fluoridation of the municipal water supply. The proposal called for a halt to fluoridation once the existing supply of chemical fluoride at the municipal water works was exhausted.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit opposed the suggestion on the grounds that fluoridation of the water supply was necessary as a dental health measure for the community. There was no further discussion of the issue.
Now, Martin Perron, environmental services superintendent for the town, presented council, during its April 21 committee of the whole session, with a new discussion paper on the issue.
“This is a controversial subject,” Perron stated in his brief, “but it is something we need to think about because we have a major project on the upgrading of chemicals in 2020 at the drinking water filtration plant.”
Mayor Assaly noted that renovation of the water filtration plant is needed to help better organize storage of the chemicals used for treating the town’s drinking water. “The space is limited,” she said.
Perron’s report noted that the chemical fluoride used for the water supply is stored in 500-pound drums and the municipal orders on average 22 drums each year at a cost of $8000. A special storage room to keep the fluoride separate from other chemicals would cost $10,000. Mandatory protective gear for staff dealing with the chemical costs $1000 and another $1000 is needed for treatment equipment monitoring and calibration.
Present provincial legislation lets local municipalities decided if they do or do not want to fluoridate their drinking water. Council has directed Perron to research the matter further and also contact the EOHU for an opinion.