Waveland board flushes fluoride grant program

The Waveland Board of Aldermen last week shot down a plan to increase the fluoride in its water system.

Ward One Alderman Lili Stahler was the only alderman to support the plan.

Last month, the board heard from officials from the Mississippi Department of Health, who informed the board about the Preventive Health Services Grant.

Under the grant, the state will install a new fluoridated system and manage it for the first year, Mayor Tommy Longo said Monday.

After the first year, the city would take over the costs to maintain it, which would equal about $1.50 per resident, per year, Stahler said.

Currently, Waveland has about 4,000 residents.

The costs could be paid by the city or added to utility bills, officials said.

“I have no idea why they did not vote for it,” Stahler said. “It seemed like a good deal.”

In Mississippi, 97 percent of the population receives its water from public water systems. According to the Department of Health only about 54 percent of the water systems in the state are connected to or adjusted to fluoridated systems.

“It would definitely be better for public health,” Longo said. “Fluoridated systems have already been proved to provide benefits.”

The most obvious positive for fluoridated water is in dental care, Longo said.

According to the MDH, studies have shown that for most cities, every dollar spend on fluoridation saves $38, and in dental treatment, costs and can reduce dental decay by as much as 40 percent.

Longo said the costs to the city would not take affect until a year after the system is in place and in the long-run, because providing fluoride will probably become mandatory in the near future.

Ward Four Alderman Charles Piazza said Tuesday that he is not necessarily against the plan, but he just wants more information first.

“We feel like we did not get enough information,” Piazza said. “They were saying it’s going to cost $1.50 per citizen, and I just want to make sure it is worth it. We will probably revisit this at some point.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, Mississippi ranks 41st of 50 states in the percentage of fluoridated water systems.

BY: Dwayne Bremer

The Sea Coast Echo

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