Water Authority to Fight Fluoride Ruling

OMWA
The Ozark Mountain Public Regional Water Authority facility near Lead Hill. (Photo from Ozarks First)

by: Chrystal Blair, Ozarks First

An Arkansas water authority is ready to fight a circuit court ruling that says they must add fluoride to their drinking water.

The Ozark Mountain Public Regional Water Authority, near Lead Hill, filed the appeal against the Arkansas Department of Health, but a judge ruled against the appeal on Tuesday.

Under the current law, if a water supplier serves at least 5-thousand customers in a “consecutive system,” they must add fluoride to their drinking water.

“We have 18 customers — and none of our 18 customers serves 5000 people,” said Andy Anderson, Chairman of the water authority.

But, this is where it gets tricky — Anderson says they are a whole sale supplier…

“You could say that, that first system is consecutive to us. He doesn’t serve 5-thousand people, Anderson said, “So we do not feel that it should apply to us.”

But, a judge disagrees and ruled that the water has a total of 21-thousand customers — therefore fluoride must be added.

“We do not feel that should apply to us and the people you talk to on the street don’t feel like it should apply to us,” said Anderson.

At the core of this dispute is how many customers are involved and how the system actually works.

“We are like the overhead power line that runs across country the high voltage line. The pipeline runs, the system taps into it and gets their water. We don’t go from point..from system A, to system B, to system C, to system D. They all tap into our line so they’re not consecutive.”

According to Anderson, the customers are not taking this ruling lightly.

“Our customers do not want it. We have many letters from customers say if you put it in we’re not going to pay the bill,” Anderson said, “I suspect we will appeal it, since all of our customers are opposed.”

The Arkansas Attorney General emailed the following statement regarding the judge’s ruling…”The Attorney General applauds the Circuit Court’s decision to enforce the current standard and rule of law.”

Anderson says he does plan to appeal, but it will cost 75-hundred more dollars to do that.

He says he is receiving a lot of donations from people in the community and those who live outside the community.