Moose Jaw residents have been without Saskatchewan Health Authority requirements for fluoridated water for "about a year" due to mechanical failures at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant.
The City's engineering department is asking for a budget increase of $2.3 million to install a new system.
"The current system's inoperable," said manager of engineering, Bevan Harlton. "The cost of maintenance and parts is increasing, and a number of the parts are now obsolete."
According to a letter from the Saskatchewan Health's Authority regarding the recommendation to support putting fluoride in public drinking water, it states "many governments and health organizations, including the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association, and the World Health Organization support the fluoridation of drinking water as an important public health measure to prevent tooth decay."
The new system will constitute phase two of updates at the plant. Phase one, updating the lines from the plant to the city, was completed last December. Besides the new fluoridation system, phase two also involves tying in a transmission line at the Northeast Reservoir and completing the pumping and electrical upgrades at the plant.
"A large part of that cost is not just for the system itself," said Harlton, "it's to put it in a room in a way that it's safe for the operators to use it. The structure's there, but they need to recess it so that if there is leaks it's able to be contained. They [also] have to improve the ventilation system."
City Council has tabled the request for the increase and will revisit the matter at the Dec. 11 Council meeting. You can read the rest of the Sask Health Authority letter by clicking here.