SHERIDAN — City Utilities Manager Dan Roberts confirmed today that the city will begin to add fluoride to the water supply beginning in January.
Crews have finished installing equipment to add fluorosilicic acid at the Sheridan and Big Goose water treatment plants. Fluoride will be added to city and Sheridan Area Water Supply water.
“We’re telling everybody to assume it will be Jan. 1,” Roberts said.
Notices will be inserted into utility bills sent out this month to notify customers of the intended date for fluoridation to begin. Those notices will begin to be sent this week, with SAWS customers likely to see the notice as early as Saturday. The bills with the notices will be sent following the typical billing cycle.
Roberts said there were no plans to send a special notice to people, such as renters who have utilities included in their rent, who may not receive a city utility bill but who still drink city water. He said landlords can alert tenants if they choose.
Roberts said crews performed an initial start-up and test of the fluoridation equipment in late October. Following the test, crews completed some follow-up calibration of the fluoride equipment, as well as some other water improvement systems that will also come online in January as part of the conventional upgrades being completed at the water treatment plants.
Roberts said he spoke with Water Treatment Superintendent Tom Manolis to confirm the delivery date for the fluorosilicic acid, which is estimated to be Dec. 22. The city will use a liquid form of the chemical.
“Staff is just trying to implement what Council set forth to us to do,” Roberts said. “That’s the job at hand, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Fluoridation was initially set to begin last summer, but delays in construction and high summer demand for water pushed the installation of the equipment into the fall months.
Roberts said he has already received several calls regarding fluoridation in recent days. He said he welcomes anyone with questions or concerns to call and speak with him directly.
“We’ll certainly document concerns and take note of them,” Roberts said. “Nonetheless, we will still move forward in January and be fluoridating.”
The process to begin water fluoridation began in December 2010 when City Council directed the public works department to adjust the level of fluoride in the water supply to optimal levels. The request came on the heels of a appeal from dentists in the area to fluoridate the water supply to provide what they felt would be beneficial protection against tooth decay.
More than 2,000 Sheridan area residents have signed a petition over the last year asking the city not to fluoridate because they feel the use of fluoride should be a choice.