Digital News Report – The city of Watsonville will be discussing a controversial measure that would put fluoride in the drinking water. Although there is a grant involved, the fluoridation can cost the city money.
Both the Public Works Director, David Koch, and the Water Division Manager, Steve Palmisano, are recommending the council contract with the California Dental Association to fund fluoridation of the city water supply.
“A grant was offered to the City by the Fluoridation 2010 Work Group on February 13, 2002 in the amount of $946,000. Of the total, $817,000 was designated for the capital costs, including design, purchase and installation of the fluoridation facilities,” Koch said in a statement.
The remaining $129,000 would be used to operate the facility for one year. It is uncertain whether the city would be stuck paying for the facility and its maintenance after that.
City staff has been negotiating with the California Dental Association for over a year. There are opponents of this proposal and the voters of Watsonville rejected fluoridation back in 2002.
Since money is available in the form of a grant, the California Department of Health is ordering Watsonville to go forward with a plan to fluorinate the water, or face a $200 a day fine. “The Compliance Order also stated that failure to comply with the Order may result in fines of up to $200 per day,” Koch said.
State law says that if grant money is available, the city must fluorinate. If the grants run out after two years, there is no guarantee the city will continue fluorination.
By: Robert Williams