Fellsmere getting closer to adding fluoride to city’s water supply

FELLSMERE — For years, the City of Fellsmere has wanted to add fluoride to its water to help residents fend off dental problems. Now, city leaders appear to be getting closer.

City Manager Jason Nunemaker said he has been working with Florida Department of Health Fluoridation Coordinator Sean Isaac to get funding for the project.

“It’s not a given until we get it signed on the bottom line,” Nunemaker said of getting state funding for the fluoride.

Current estimates show the addition to the water system being a little more than $62,000, which the city hopes the health department would pick up.

“It’s been a priority of the health department for some time,” Nunemaker said.

Nunemaker said that this is the farthest the city has gotten in the six to seven years with the department and expressed optimism for completing the project.

According to the Department of Health, fluoridated water decreases tooth decay by 18 to 40 percent.

Along with adding fluoride to the water, Nunemaker said the city plans on educating the residents about dental health and hygiene, focusing on the importance of flossing.

The city hopes to work the fluoridation into the expansion of the water treatment plant, which is currently underway.

Fellsmere received $1.4 million federal stimulus funds split between a grant and a low interest loan to pay for the 1.6-million gallon expansion.

If the city can get the state’s funding to add fluoride to the water facility, the work would be handled through a change order with the contractor.

The expansion is expected to be complete in less than a year, perhaps nine months, according to Nunemaker.

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