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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The City of Eudora has been working hard for the last several months to improve the quality of water in the city.  While we have been unable to obtain the latest numbers from the city,  numbers provided to us in late 2011 and early 2012 indicated that the city’s quality of water was showing significant improvement.  This has also been echoed by many residents who have noticed better color, clarity and taste.

Now, the next step is to talk about adding fluoride to water system.  The addition of fluoride is one that has two distinct views.  To add nor not to add.

According to John Harrenstein, the reasoning behind adding fluoride to the water is for improved teeth.

“Studies by the American Dental Association have shown the adding fluoride, in proper amounts, reduces cavities and strengthens dental health.”

Harrenstein also provided a chart that shows other nearby cities and their levels of fluoride in the water.

Harrenstein did add that it must be a very controlled system because adding too much to the water supply could cause problems.  Current recommendations by the Untied States Government are that fluoride levels in municipal water be 0.7 mp/l.

Opponents of  the addition of fluoride to municipal water systems  have  quite different view about adding it.  The Fluoride Action Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to opposing to adding fluoride to the water, lists multiple reasons to not add it to the water treatment process.

Quoting from their website:

“Excessive ingestion of fluoride during the early childhood years can damage the tooth-forming cells, leading to a defect in the enamel known as dental fluorosis.  Teeth impacted by fluorosis have visible discoloration, ranging from white spots to brown and black stains.”

The controversial nature of water fluoridation has led the city to hold two public hearings on the issue.  The first one will be held Monday, July 23 during the City Council meeting with the second to occur on Monday August 13.

“Because of the sometimes controversial nature of adding fluoride, we really need to hear from the citizens on this issue,” Harrenstein said.  “We want to be sensitive to what the public wants and people need to let us know, one way or the other.”

The public hearings will allow the opportunity for those served by the City of Eudora’s water system the opportunity to speak for or against adding fluoride to the water.  City Council meetings begin at 7:00 PM at Eudora City Hall, 4. E. 7th Street.

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

On Monday the City Council passed a proposal to run a test to see if Eudora water can be improved.

Eudora City Administrator John Harrenstein, along with several members of the Public Works Department and Doug Smith, the  water consultant for the city, proposed a program that will last for eight weeks, with the goal being to diagnose and potentially improve the water quality in the city.

“The City Council identified at retreats held earlier this year that one of the top goals was to improve the quality of water,” Harrenstein stated. “This is designed to help meet that goal.”

Smith told the Council that to improve the quality of water, we need to have more frequent testing of various levels including Phenolphthalien alkalinity, Total alkalinity, pH and total hardness.

“People constantly think that most of those little white particles floating in the water is lime.  That’s not the case. Most of that is calcium,” Smith said.

Currently the hardness of Eudora water is approximately 350 – 400 mg/l (milligrams per litre) with the desired level being 100 – 140 mg/l according to chart provided to the City Council by Smith.

During the test, the City will add more lime to the water and elevate the pH in the raw water to reduce the calcium.  Also, the City water plant will be staffed by Public Works personnel for the 13 to 16 hours the plant is in operation. Currently the plant is staffed for 8 hours a day.

Not only will tests on the raw water at the plant be conducted on a much more frequent basis, tests will also be conducted at 8 different sites throughout the city.  These include the two convenience stores in town, two school buildings and many city office buildings.  In addition, 32 fire hydrants will be flushed during the 8 week test period to try to clean out the pipes in the ground where calcium and deposits have built up.

When the city flushes the hydrants, citizens in those areas will notice a drop in water pressure and water can come out of tap discolored.  This was evidenced approximately two weeks ago when the water main break at 12th and Church Street occurred, many citizens in the area were affected by these conditions as hydrants had to be opened to make the necessary repairs.

Prior to flushing the hydrants, the city will hang fliers on doors of places affected by the flushing, informing them that they should expect these conditions and to not do laundry for a 24 hour period following the hydrant flushing as this could turn clothes a brown or rust color.

Harrenstein also presented facts and figures on the cost of this test and possible future impact to the budget if the test is successful and it is decided to implement further procedures.  The extra salary for having the Water Plant staffed additional hours each day will result in a cost of $5,120. The cost of additional chemicals in the water is not determinable at this point, but is not looked at as a major expense.

“We have the money in the budget for the testing period,” Harrenstein noted. “What the City Council will need to consider is if this test is successful, this will have a budget impact for the permanent addition of man hours and chemicals in the future.”

The testing period is slated to start on November 1 and conclude on Christmas Eve.

 

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