Non-fluoridated water on the table

By Don Farmer don.farmer@age.co.nz -
1 comment
Masterton District councillors are considering a plan to make non-fluoridated water available from a single point of supply, probably a tap stand in town. PHOTO/FILE
Masterton District councillors are considering a plan to make non-fluoridated water available from a single point of supply, probably a tap stand in town. PHOTO/FILE

Masterton people who object to drinking fluoridated water may soon get the chance to avoid it.

A plan to make non-fluoridated water available from a single point of supply, probably a tap stand in town, could become a reality should Masterton District councillors approve a recommendation put to them by a senior council adviser, Phil Evans.

This seeks approval for council officers to negotiate with representatives of an existing, private water supply to determine whether a water connection can be provided and would allow staff to go ahead with establishing a supply point.

A supply point would mean people wanting non-fluoridated water could fill drinking water container at the tap stand.

The idea of supplying unfluoridated water arose from submissions made to the 2015- 2025 Long Term Plan, from people who did not want fluoridated water for reasons of personal choice.

Masterton's water supply comes from the Waingawa River and the water is treated at a plant in Kaituna before being piped 8km to the urban area.

Treatment includes adding chlorine as a disinfection and fluoride as a public health measure.

Piping the alternative, non-fluoridated supply from the existing water treatment plant would be technically possible but far too expensive to consider.

In his report to the council's Policy and Finance Committee, Mr Evans said it is likely that there would be a limited demand, based on a non-fluoridated supply installed by Palmerston North City Council which averages less than 1000 litres a day.

Given the difference in population, it is thought Masterton's daily uptake would be less than 500 litres. Apart from the option of entering into a supply agreement with a private supplier at either Fernridge or Opaki, the council could put down a new bore within the urban area or modify an existing supply from springs in Millennium Reserve or from a bore at Te Ore Ore.

A supply agreement with an existing supplier including putting in the tap stand would be around $5500 with an annual charge of between $400 and $700. The other options would range in price from $18,000 to $80,000.

A supply point in the town would likely be in either Manuka St or Upper Plain Rd.

The Policy and Finance Committee meets tomorrow and is expected to make a decision on the matter.

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