Base Restarts Water Flouridation After Upgrades


Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

In an effort to promote dental health, Coast Guard Base Kodiak has reintroduced fluoride into its water supply. Edward DeNoyelles is an environmental program manager who manages the drinking water on base and said the addition of fluoride came after a major update to the drinking water plant.

(Fluoride Water 1 : 39 "Our drinking water plant uses the source water for Buskin Lake. And you’ve probably seen it on your way up to the golf course on the left, that green golf ball looking thing, the plant next to it is the Coast Guard drinking water plant and the pump house is up the street there where they put the weir in there and it’s pumped into the pump house and treated, filtered and sent on to our customers via our distribution center. And we provide drinking water for the airport, FAA, NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, The Alaska State Parks, Coast Guard and Lash Samson Tug and Barge area. So we have about 3,000 customers.")

DeNoyelles said the Coast Guard has always added fluoride to its drinking water, but stopped doing so three years ago when they started updating the system.

(Fluoride Water 2 : 29 "Part of the reconstruction of the plant, we had a lot of complication issues so we just took it offline for that period of time because we couldn’t regulate it at the dosage rates that we wanted to. And there were other complications so we just took it offline until we were able to bring the plant up and have the other plant upgrades accomplished first and so we had to phase it back in at a certain time, and last month was that time.")

Fluoride additions to the water supply resumed on July 25. There is no additional charge to consumer and research shows that adding fluoride to water can help reduce tooth decay by up to 40 percent. DeNoyelles said the amount being added to the water is very safe. In fact, he said the amount is about a quarter of the regulatory amount.

(Fluoride Water 3 : 20 "The regulatory limit that’s out from EPA is four parts per million and we don’t go over two, our target, what we sample for daily, has been about .78 milligrams a liter. So it’s about a quarter of the dose.")

He said too much fluoride in a water system isn’t good, but said the new system is pretty bulletproof and highly regulated, so he isn’t concerned. DeNoyelles said Anchorage has experience an operation error in the past that led to fluoride overdoses, but the system in place here will shut off if a certain level of fluoride is released.

The addition was only done to the base water supply. Kodiak city does not add fluoride to its water. A notice about the addition to the base system was sent to the Kodiak Island Borough School District because Peterson Elementary School is located on base. DeNoyelles said individuals concerned about fluoride safety should use online resources like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association for additional information.


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