Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After no controversy, Plant City water fluoridation starts Friday

PLANT CITY — Fluoridated water, a bane for some across the bay, is getting a warmer reception here as officials get ready to add fluoride to the city's water for the first time on Friday.

The move will affect about 11,000 households.

Officials have talked for years about fluoridation but repeatedly put off changing the water system for budgetary reasons.

Utilities director Frank Coughenour said all that changed a couple of years ago when the city, with encouragement from Hillsborough County health experts, sought and received $386,000 in state and county grants.

The city chipped in $86,000 for construction and will pay another $30,000 to $40,000 annually for system maintenance.

Officials say it's worth it to derive fluoride's documented oral-health benefits.

"The Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention), the American Dental Association and the American Water Works Association have all endorsed it," Coughenour said.

But in Pinellas County, fluoridation has been a source of political infighting.

Under pressure from activists, Pinellas commissioners pulled their fluoride system in some areas more than a year ago, touching off a debate that lingered through last fall's election. A vote to scrap the system was reversed in November and fluoridation is set to resume Friday.

Except for a handful of calls and emails to City Hall, Plant City has seen little opposition to its fluoride plans.

"A group from California sent something in in protest of it," Mayor Michael Sparkman said. "They said it was terrible, but that's been about it."

Officials say opponents have objected to some municipalities' use of industrially derived fluoride, which will differ from the city's method of acquiring the material.

Coughenour said the city will buy fluoride mined in Spain and refined in Florida at Oviedo, northeast of Orlando.

The final product will arrive in liquid form to be added to injectors at four city water plants.

After officials flip the switch Friday morning, residents will get fluoridated water later in the day after it winds through the system.

As for taste?

"There won't be any noticeable difference," Coughenour said.

Rich Shopes can be reached at [email protected]m or (813) 661-2454.

After no controversy, Plant City water fluoridation starts Friday 02/27/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 7 creepy podcasts to get you in the Halloween spirit


    Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

    Television network AMC recently debuted an immersive new podcast, Deadly Manners.
  2. Police: Before a shot was fired after Spencer's UF speech, men gave Nazi salutes and chanted about Hitler


    Gainesville police have arrested three men they say are responsible for the shooting after Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida on Thursday.

    Texas men Tyler Tenbrink, 28; William Henry Fears, 30; and Colton Gene Fears, 28 all face attempted homicide charges for a shooting following Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida. (Gainesville police)
  3. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills


    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Bucs QB Jameis Winston, shown against the Patriots two weeks ago, will start Sunday at Buffalo after being sidelined with a shoulder injury last week. Dirk Koetter announced that he was starting after watching him throw at practice Friday.
  4. Florida's 'Turtle God' is ailing. What happens to his remarkable collection of specimens?


    OVIEDO — In a small town about five miles from the University of Central Florida there stands a two-story yellow house built in the 1920s. A modest sign mounted on the wall next to the front door says, "Chelonian Research Institute."

    The main room at the Chelonian Institute in Oviedo Florida. - Peter Pritchard sounds British but he's lived in Florida for five decades, running the Chelonian Institute in Oviedo Florida, which holds the world's largest collection of turtle specimens (some of them bones or shells, some of them live turtles or tortoises). Time magazine has declared him a hero of the planet and other turtle experts say he is to turtles what Dian Fossey was to gorillas. He's been instrumental in helping other species, too, including the Florida panther. He has traveled the world studying turtles.
  5. Photos: Maroon 5's PJ Morton slides into Tampa for an electric set at Crowbar


    While the rest of Tampa was off partying with Bruno Mars at Amalie Arena, a much smaller group of fans were getting down with Maroon 5 at Crowbar.

    PJ Morton performed at Crowbar in Tampa on Oct. 19, 2017.