Northern Star

Byron council again rejects fluoride

ROUS Water will press ahead with plans to build four separate fluoride dosing plants after the Byron Shire Council refused to budge on its prior decision to keep the contentious chemical out of its water.

NSW Health gave a presentation to the council at its October meeting, with the aim of convincing councillors to come on board and join Lismore, Ballina and Richmond Valley in dosing its ratepayers with fluoridated water.

Last year, the North Coast Area Health Service recorded 53.3 per cent of people living in towns with more than 1000 inhabitants as having no access to fluoridated community water. This figure was more than double the next NSW health service area, Greater Southern (20.4pc), followed by Greater Western Area Health Services (10pc).

By the time Rous Water is able to fluoridate its water supply it is expected only 3.6pc of the total population of NSW will remain on unfluoridated community water. On the North Coast, however, that figure will be more like 10 per cent.

According to NSW Health, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has rated water fluoridation as one of the ‘top 10 public health measures of the 20th Century’, alongside the eradication of poliomyelitis and smallpox.

With the Byron Shire refusing to budge on its anti-fluoride stance, Rous Water now has no option but to build four dosing plants – one each at Corndale, Dorroughby, Clunes and Knockrow, costing a total of $1.1 million.

That figure is at least 20pc greater as a result of Byron’s refusal to budge on the fluoride issue. Had Byron Shire accepted fluoride, Rous Water would only have had to build two plants, one at its Nightcap water treatment plant and another at Emigrant Creek Dam.

Rous technical services director Wayne Franklin said he expected a report would go to the December meeting, with tenders being called to build the fluoride dosing plants before Christmas.

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