OWASA will continue later this year adding fluoride to the drinking water in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
The nonprofit Orange Water and Sewer Authority took another look at its use of fluoride after human error and an equipment malfunction on Feb. 2 increased the amount being added to the water at the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant. Utilities add fluoride to the water to prevent tooth decay.
However, OWASA’s plant was found to be pumping more than 6 parts per million, or eight times more than the targeted 0.7 parts per million.
While the overfluoridated water never left the plant, the malfunction was followed by one of the worst water main breaks in OWASA’s history. Officials shut down the water system, which serves over 80,000 people, for more than 24 hours.
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OWASA’s Board of Directors discussed the use of fluoride and received more than 40 public comments before making a decision Thursday, officials said in a news release.
Staff will return to the board March 23 with recommendations for improving the fluoride feed system and propose a date to resume fluoridation. The meeting begins at 7 PM in the Council Chamber at Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
“OWASA will continue to monitor scientific developments, best practices and recommendations regarding fluoridation,” the release stated.