Citizens ask water board to delay fluoridation
EUREKA SPRINGS -- In another attempt to delay fluoridation of their drinking water, several Carroll County citizens attended the quarterly board meeting of the Carroll-Boone Water District on Thursday, July 16.
Among them was Eureka Springs Alderman Mickey Schneider.
"I'd give the City of Eureka Springs one week before the majority of our pipes are destroyed from corrosion from fluoride," she said. "We have an antique town. We don't have the money to take care of these effects."
Schneider said CBWD could be liable for repair costs of Eureka's waterlines.
She asked CBWD to "take a temporary stand of holding [fluoridation] off" until the legislature meets again in January and citizens can attempt to get the state mandate requiring fluoridation reversed.
The mandate requires that any water system serving 5,000 or more people put fluoride in the water.
Under the terms of a contract with Delta Dental, which has agreed to fund startup costs for fluoridation, water systems are bound to implement fluoridation within a certain time frame or face penalties.
Schneider said the city has already passed a resolution opposing fluoride and will be voting on another one in a couple of weeks.
Others spoke of other cities that have discontinued fluoridation and of studies showing harmful health effects. Darlene Schrum, who sent a "Constructive Notice" to CBWD board members and staff in May 2012, informing them of their possible personal liability for any negative effects of fluoride or other chemicals in the water, said the contents of the chemicals being used to fluoridate the water "must be certified by an independent agency, not the manufacturer."
CBWD Chairman James Yates, although allowing everyone to speak, said the board has hired the best legal counsel and engineers to advise it how to provide the best water under the legal requirements of the state.
"We're doing the best job we can and following all the regulations. We have guidance from the state and are doing the best we can," he said. "If you have a certified sample of our water that has something wrong with it, we will work with our engineers to get it corrected."
CEO Brad Hammond of McGoodwin, Williams & Yates engineering firm said the masonry work on the fluoride feed station has "a little less than 20 percent left to complete" and he expects completion of the entire project by the end of the year.
CBWD discussed ways to forward payment to contractors working on both the fluoride project and the Arkansas Highway 62 widening project. Office Manager Cathy Klein said Delta Dental had been good about paying invoices within 10 days, but the Highway Department has a rigorous set of criteria on invoices, and money might not always be there right away to pay contractors, who can't afford to wait. The board approved a motion to use emergency fund money to pay contractors and reimburse the account when payment comes in to CBWD and also to establish a line of credit at the bank.
The board tabled a vote on whether to add earthquake insurance on the waterline. Klein said the plant, buildings and storage are all covered, but not the transmission line itself. She had ballpark figures of between $50,000 and $200,000 a year. Yates said more information is needed about deductibles and whether insurance covers on a per-event basis. Klein will get more information.
In actions, the board voted to add board members to the workers' compensation coverage in the event of injury while visiting plant facilities or projects; to appoint Gene Chafin as secretary/treasurer to replace Harold Collins, who passed away; to add Klein and Chafin as signers on checking accounts; to table adding accidental death and disability, long-term disability and life insurance to employee benefits until obtaining more information on the tax impacts to employees; and to advertise for bids on the Highway 62 widening project.
The board has scheduled its next meeting for Oct. 16.