Mayor says fluoride coming back to Blount water

Fluoride will soon be back in the water distributed by the South Blount Utility District.

In a conversation following Thursday's Blount County Commission meeting, Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham said fluoride would soon be added into water the utility district provides.

Fluoride was taken out of the water in August of 2004 when the utility board chose to remove the additive when they moved to their new water treatment plant, which is located down Calderwood Highway near Monroe County.

Then South Blount Utility District manager Isom Lail, who died in November of 2005, recommended to utility district board members not to use fluoride in the water at the new facility, saying it was hazardous material and corrosive to water lines.

On Thursday night, Cunningham said the utility district board had changed directions on the subject and decided to start adding fluoride back to water for their customers. The mayor said about $2,000 in equipment needed to purchased and installed before they could begin adding fluoride again.

“I think it will be in the very, very near future,” he said.

The mayor said the move should help improve the dental health of residents who use South Blount Utility District water. “It’s extremely important,” Cunningham said.

The South Blount Utility District serves over 14,000 homes, businesses and schools in Blount County, Friendsville and Louisville, which is approximately 30 percent of the county population. They are governed by a three-member board of commissioners, who are appointed by the Blount County mayor for 4-year terms. The commissioners handle all fiscal, policy and procedural aspects of the utility district. District manager for the organization is Henry Durant.

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