WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington will begin adding fluoride to its drinking water on Thursday, Feb. 25. It will take about three days for fluoridated water to reach all customers.
Fluoride has been added to drinking water across the country for decades as an aid in preventing tooth decay. Only about 20 communities in Ohio don’t fluoridate drinking water, the city stated in a news release Tuesday.
Average fluoride levels in the water will be kept between 0.8 and 1.3 parts per million as required by state law and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
Operators at the water treatment plant have been certified by Ohio EPA to conduct fluoride tests on the water. Such tests will be completed every few hours to ensure the proper fluoride level is in the water. Other equipment was also installed at the plant to help operators monitor for a consistent fluoride feed.
Discussion about adding fluoride to Wilmington’s water began in 2015.
After much debate, City Council decided to place a non-binding referendum on the November 2016 ballot. City voters approved fluoridation 56.7 percent to 43.3 percent. In early 2017, City Council approved the implementation of fluoridation.
A 2017 feasibility study confirmed that fluoridation was viable and affordable. As that study was being wrapped up, a significant harmful algal bloom occurred in Caesar Creek Lake. That event led to a review of the entire treatment operation.
Fluoridation became part of a larger project at the treatment plant, which is nearing completion now.
The city received an Ohio Department of Health grant of $86,417.17 — plus an interest-free loan from Ohio EPA — to support implementation of fluoridation.
More information on fluoridation of drinking water can be found at the Centers for Disease Control website http://bit.ly/3urs1np .