June 2020 Update: Engineering plans for the new fluoride feed system were delayed slightly due to COVID-19. The City anticipates engineering plans will be completed within a couple of weeks and they will then be reviewed. We anticipate opening the project for bid at the beginning of July. In order to expedite construction, the City will purchase needed equipment so that it is on site for the contractor. The City has also purchased sufficient powder fluoride to immediately begin supplementing treated water once construction is complete.
City of Arvada voters approved a community fluoride program in 1967. The City’s Ralston Water Treatment Plant was designed to use liquid fluoride to deliver the supplemental fluoride. Over time, the tank storing the liquid fluoride began leaking. The City attempted to fix the leak but was unsuccessful. While fluoride is an additive that does not affect the safety of drinking water, the City is committed to investing in our infrastructure, and the plant is in the process of converting from a liquid fluoride system to a powder feed system similar to the system in use at the Arvada Water Treatment Plant. The conversion will take several months. During that time period, the City will be unable to provide supplemental fluoridation in City drinking water. The City has notified dentists in Arvada and encourages residents to consult their dental health provider about ways to maintain dental health.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is happening at Ralston Water Treatment Plant?
The Ralston Water Treatment Plant was designed to use liquid fluoride as the supplemental fluoride additive. Over time, the tank storing the liquid fluoride has developed leaks. Remediation was attempted but was unsuccessful. A leaking storage tank creates an unsafe environment for workers at the plant.
What is the plan to get fluoride back into drinking water?
The Ralston Water Treatment Plant will be converting from a liquid fluoride system to a powder feed system similar to the system in use at the Arvada Water Treatment Plant. Powder feed systems are less prone to complete long term failure.
Why is it going to take so long to complete the work?
Due to the size of the tank and the construction of the facility, it is not feasible to replace the tank. An engineering firm is designing a new feed system for the plant. In addition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) must review all changes to the plant to ensure compliance with drinking water regulations. City staff are working with CDPHE to fast track review of our new fluoride feed system.
Why do we have fluoride in our water?
City of Arvada voters approved a community fluoride program in 1967. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and CDPHE both recommend community fluoride programs to support oral health. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element and is present in small amounts in almost all water supplies. There are no state regulations that require community water fluoridation. There are guidelines to help communities fluoridate water at an optimal level. You can learn more about community fluoridation programs and oral health on CDPHE’s website.
What can I do to maintain oral health?
The CDC recommends that children brush their teeth twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Parents should ask their children's dental health provider about applying dental sealants. If your child does not currently have a dental provider, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists provides a Pediatric Dentist Search on their website.
Adults should continue to practice good dental hygiene, including brushing twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride, flossing regularly, and obtaining routine dental care.
Is this related to the fluoride shortage?
The fluoride outage at the Ralston Water Treatment plant is not related to the global fluoride shortage.
Contact: Rachael Kuroiwa, Manager of Communication - Infrastructure, firstname.lastname@example.org, 720-898-7013
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