EUREKA SPRINGS -- Possibly in advance of filing a lawsuit, a Eureka Springs couple delivered a letter to the Carroll-Boone Water District in late May. The notice was directed to all board members, water operators and attorney for the district and warns against "non-compliance, unlawful activity, misrepresentation and liability" related to the implementation of the state's mandated water fluoridation.
The notice warns CBWD that "indemnification, hold harmless agreements, and government immunities" do not protect them against lawsuits.
"Carroll-Boone alone has the duty to assure that claims made for the public policy of fluoridation are met by the specific (fluoridation) product Carroll-Boone chooses." It adds that Carroll-Boone could become "complicit" if it does not disclose all necessary information about contaminants in the product, warn consumers about its dangers and use restrictions, monitor the effects of and the performance of the additive and other duties and responsibilities.
René Fonseca, one of the 12 water operators at CBWD, all of whom oppose fluoridation for several reasons, said the notice "lists a lot of questions we have been trying to deal with, and some I wasn't aware of."
Asked whether the letter will be on the agenda for the upcoming quarterly board meeting July 19, Office Manager Jim Allison said he is not sure yet. Asked if Chairman James Yates wanted the notice on the agenda, Allison said Yates told him no. As of last Thursday, Allison had not heard back from the water district's attorney, Dan Bowers.
Fonseca said there has been little communication with the board about how to proceed. Engineering plans for the two buildings that will store and dispense fluoride are in the process of being revised to come more into line with a $763,000 grant amount Delta Dental pledged to pay for startup costs, as opposed to engineering firm McGoodwin, Williams & Yates' original estimate of $1.2 million.
Under the state's Act 197, mandating fluoride for all water districts that serve 5,000 or more customers, startup costs cannot be borne by taxes or the water district's sales revenue.
Fonseca said he has concerns about those revisions if they cut down the building size so that a forklift can't be driven into it.
"We don't want to unload the product by hand," he said. "I know they put a lot of trust in engineers, but errors have been made in the past. I think it's important that those of us who work here every day and will have to handle this product be involved in the process. We know what we need to be safe, and the board assured us in past meetings that our workers' safety is paramount."
CBWD will meet Thursday, July 19, at 10 a.m. at the Freeman-Raney Water Treatment Plant on Hwy. 187, west of Eureka Springs. The meeting is open to the public.