Denver Water gets pressured to end fluoride dosing

The water treatment process
The water treatment process

From the Associated Press (Ivan Moreno) via the Fort Collins Coloradan:

The discussion at Denver Water, which serves about one out of five of Colorado’s 5 million residents, comes as other utilities in the state and the country debate fluoridation. In some cases, fluoridation opponents are pressuring them to do so, claiming that it damages teeth and bones.

Two weeks ago, the mountain community of Snowmass Village, about 165 miles west of Denver, decided to stop water fluoridation, joining a handful of other Colorado municipalities that have discontinued the practice in recent years.

“The ultimate goal is to stop this absolutely insane process,” said Paul Commett, a retired chemistry professor and director of the New York-based Fluoride Action Network. About 200 places worldwide have stopped putting fluoride in drinking water since 2010, according to the group.

The movement has caught the attention of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and his chief medical officer, Dr. Larry Wolk. They released a joint statement Wednesday, hours before the Denver Water Board met for public discussion.

“More than 70 years of research has proven that community water fluoridation is a safe, effective and inexpensive method of improving the oral health of all Coloradans,” the statement said.

Denver Water plans to decide Aug. 26 what to do about adding fluoride to water, a practice it has maintained since 1953…

About 72 percent of Colorado residents consume fluoridated water through their drinking systems. Nationally, 75 percent of people have access to fluoridated water.

“One of the benefits of having fluoride in the water system is that everybody in the community can benefit from it regardless of their age, their income, their race, their gender, because all you have to do is drink the water and have access to that benefit,” said Katya Mauritson, Colorado’s dental director.

She said fluoride in water reduces cavities and leads to savings of about $61 per year in dental costs, she said.

“We really do have a large number of children and adults that have untreated cavities that are preventable. We need water fluoridation in order to ensure that they stay healthy. Oral health does affect overall health,” Mauritson said.

Fluoride is a mineral found in the soil and water. Some areas naturally have the dosage recommended by the government, and in others, utilities add it.

Commett said that amounts to delivering medication without consent.

More water treatment coverage here.

Fluoride dosing: “Why should we impose it on people?” — Paul Connett

Calcium fluoride
Calcium fluoride

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Anti-fluoridation activists blitzed the Denver Water Board on Wednesday, pressing their case that adding fluoride to water to cut cavities is harmful “mass medication.”

“Why should we impose it on people?” Fluoride Action Network director Paul Connett said.

Denver is the latest target of a campaign that in the past five years has persuaded 200 cities worldwide — including Snowmass Village, Pagosa Springs, Palisade and Montrose — to stop adding fluoride to water.

Water board members told the roughly 130 activists who packed a hearing that they are reviewing current practices and will make a decision by Aug. 26.

The campaign run by FAN and “We Are Change Colorado” has gained enough traction that Colorado public health director Larry Wolk and Gov. John Hickenlooper launched a counter-attack before the hearing. They issued a statement recommending that all communities add fluoride to water supplies.

Today about 72 percent of Coloradans on municipal systems receive water containing natural or added fluoride…

Activists contend fluoride is “neurotoxic” and weakens bones. They say children are grossly over-exposed. Too much sugar, not lack of fluoride, is the problem, Connett said. They denounced government assertions that fluoride is necessary to prevent tooth decay as propaganda…

In April, federal health officials changed the national standard for the first time since 1962, citing recent studies finding people get fluoride from other sources such as toothpaste. Instead of a range between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams per liter, the feds now recommend a concentration of 0.7 milligrams per liter.

State dental director Katya Mauritson cited a 2005 state study that found adding fluoride saves residents $61 a year for dental care at a cost of less than $2 per customer to utilities.

More water treatment coverage here.

No flouride dosing for Snowmass

Calcium fluoride
Calcium fluoride

From The Aspen Times (Jill Beathard):

With no members of the public present other than two dental professionals and a journalist, the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District board of directors voted Friday to stop fluoridating its drinking water.

The board began reconsidering its practice in May after the federal government revised its recommendations regarding public-water fluoridation. Snowmass already followed the new standards, but the announcement sparked a debate that continued for three board meetings.

Friday’s meeting began with public comment from Ward Johnson, a Snowmass Village resident who practices dentistry in Aspen.

“Being a dentist in Aspen since 1992, of course I am in favor of continuing the fluoridation in the water,” Johnson said, citing a reduction in the rate of cavities in areas of the valley that have fluoridated drinking water. “In my opinion, the only thing that has changed is we have toothpaste with fluoride now. Without systemically ingesting that fluoride, … you do not get the lifetime of benefit that you get when fluoride is in your enamel.”

A report prepared by Glenwood Springs-based engineering company SGM agreed with Johnson’s statement on the dental-health benefits of fluoridation but noted that ingesting too much has proven to have negative health consequences and that research is limited on other potential impacts.

“Only recently have the studies been done on the effects of fluoride beyond your teeth,” board member Dave Dawson said Friday. “People can fluoridate if they wish. I don’t see it as our business to medicate the public.”

Board members Michael Shore and Willard Humphrey said they agreed with Dawson’s position, but board President Joe Farrell, who said he has many dentists in his family, did not.

More water treatment coverage here.

East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation hopes to tap RO effluent for additional supply

Reverse Osmosis Water Plant
Reverse Osmosis Water Plant

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District officials, who serve 55,000 southeast suburban ratepayers, say a high-tech cleaning process to be unveiled Thursday will increase alternative water supplies.

The push to extract drinkable water from salty, chemical-laced waste liquid reflects an increasingly creative scramble along Colorado’s high-growth Front Range.

“We can take that concentrate down further, take more water out of it,” said Matthew Bruff, CEO of Denver-based Altela Inc., which is running a $100,000 pilot project for ECCV.

It’s unclear how much this water will cost, ECCV project manager Chris Douglas said. “But what water is cheap? We’re looking at the total picture of how we can provide water. If we can clean the water in this brine steam, then we don’t have to go out and buy or use as much other water.”

An added stage of treatment at ECCV’s 2-year-old, $30 million plant in Brighton also would reduce the volume of waste that must be pumped down a 10,000-foot disposal well for burial…

Such efforts to clean wastewater for reuse probably will increase around the West, said Laura Belanger, an engineer tracking reuse for Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates, a conservation group.

“We’ve just run out of new water you can divert out of streams and rivers,” Belanger said. “So now we need to be more creative, use water more efficiently.”

The pilot project relies on a machine the size of a shipping container that heats waste and traps condensate.

This produces more drinkable water and a more concentrated waste, more than twice as salty as seawater.

Altela officials said they are seeking Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment certification that their cleaning is sufficient to meet drinking water quality standards.

More water treatment coverage here.

Thank God we have a #colorado because we have a chance to have a snowpack above 8,000 feet — Greg Hobbs #martz2015

Greg Hobbs at the 2015 Martz Summer Conference (Of course there is a projected image of a map -- this one was the division of Colorado into water divisions heeding the advice of John Wesley Powell)
Greg Hobbs at the 2015 Martz Summer Conference (of course there is a projected image of a map — this one was the division of Colorado into water divisions heeding the advice of John Wesley Powell to organize by watershed)

(If the Tweet above does not display correctly use your browser refresh button. There are timing problems with content between WordPress and Twitter at times.)

In Colorado we have prior appropriation, the anti-speculation doctrine, and a long-lived and active water market, that have managed to keep the wolf at bay. Maximizing shareholder value is the wrong goal for the public’s water. Most water in Colorado is provided by local government entities.

Municipal use is a small part of the overall pie but large amounts of water are necessary for agriculture and the environment. You don’t want to squeeze either one too much. We’re not that good at forecasting the consequences of our engineering.

I asked Brad Udall if he thought the Colorado River Basin was in collapse. He said no, even in the worst case we should have 80% yield from the system. He said we have to use the water more wisely.

That is the definition of collapse: There is not enough water to stay status quo in the basin. This is at the same time that the environment requires that we undo some of our damage and share some water.

Click here to read my notes (Tweets) from the conference. (Scroll down to the bottom and read up from there. Tweets are published in reverse-chronological order.)

WISE Project set to turn dirt in June

WISE System Map September 11, 2014
WISE System Map September 11, 2014

From the Parker Chronicle (Mike DiFerdinando):

Western Summit Constructors Inc. has been contracted to oversee design and construction of major infrastructure for the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency project. Construction will begin in June and continue into 2016, when water deliveries will begin.

“This is a significant milestone in our long-term plan to transition to a renewable water supply,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority. “With construction agreements now in place, we will break ground in coming weeks to begin connecting water systems throughout the Denver metro area.”[…]

The group tasked with utilizing this water is the South Metro WISE Authority. The primary purpose of the authority is to reduce members’ dependence on nonrenewable Denver Basin wells and provide a reliable, long-term water supply for residents.

The WISE members are funding the new infrastructure that will move the water from Aurora’s Binney Water Purification Facility to its end locations, beginning in 2016. Water purchased by Douglas County entities, as well as by some of the other providers, will be stored at the Rueter-Hess Reservoir south of Parker.

prairiewaterstreatment
Prairie Waters Project schematic via Aurora Water

 

Aurora’s Prairie Waters system will provide the backbone for delivering water from the South Platte when Aurora and Denver Water have available water supplies and capacity.

The water will be distributed to the south metro communities through an existing pipeline shared with Denver and East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District, plus new infrastructure that will be constructed over the next 16 months.

More WISE Project coverage here.

Granby dials back fluoride dosing in response to new federal guidelines

Calcium fluoride
Calcium fluoride

From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Lance Maggart):

The PHS has reduced the optimum recommended amount of fluoride in municipal water systems to a maximum of 0.7 milligrams per liter. The previous recommended range, from 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams, was changed this year for the first time since 1962.

Fluoride levels in Granby’s water supply vary depending on whether the water comes from the North Service Area or the South Service Area, two separate water systems providing public water service to community residents. Historically the fluoride levels in the two different service areas have been 1.1 milligrams per liter.

Following the new recommendations the North Service Area began reducing the amount of fluoride added to the water system. Granby Town Manager Wally Baird explained the levels in the North Service Area are already down to 0.9 milligrams per liter, and the Town plans to continue to reduce North Service Area down to the recommended level of 0.7 milligrams.

The South Service Area’s fluoride levels will remain at 1.1 milligrams per liter. No fluoride is added to the water in the South Service Area, explained Superintendent of the South Service Area Doug Bellatty. Instead the water levels in the South Service Area are naturally occurring.

Bellatty explained why the fluoride levels in the South Service Area will remain the same.

“The only process available to communities to lower the naturally occurring levels is through reverse osmosis,” he said, “which is extremely expensive and energy consuming.”

Bellatty pointed out that while the recommendation levels have been dropped, the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) — the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water — for fluoride is 4 milligrams per liter.

More water treatment coverage here.