Humboldt OKs water fluoridation

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

HUMBOLDT — Citing essentially unanimous support from public health officials and community members, the Humboldt City Council agreed Monday that the city should begin fluoridating its water.
The move came after a presentation by the Community Wellness Council which implored the city to begin treating its water with fluoridated chemicals.
Fluoridated water helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the process through which enamel breaks down, explained council member Sean McReynolds, a local dentist and member of the Wellness Council.
McReynolds described fluoridated water as “the perfect public health intervention” because it benefits everyone young and old, regardless of socioeconomic class.
In addition, McReynolds pointed out that Humboldt is the only community in Allen County that does not fluoridate its water.
Fluoridation requires any of three compounds: sodium fluoride, fluorosilicic acid or sodium fluorosilicate. The chemicals do not affect the taste or smell of water and are relatively inexpensive, added Wellness Council member Christie McReynolds.
Christie McReynolds estimated the cost of installing equipment to the city’s water treatment plant at $1,500, plus another $700 for the chemicals. The Wellness Council could assist the city in pursuing grant funding to offset the costs.
City Attorney Fred Works wrote up a resolution for the Council to approve, but wondered if they should wait to receive public feedback, “as a P.R. thing.”
Sean McReynolds disagreed.
“They elect us for a reason, to make decisions like this,” he said.
The resolution passed, 6-0. Council members Jeremy Weilert and Sam Murrow were absent.
In a related matter, water plant superintendent John Hodgden provided the Council with an extensive overview of how the water plants converts raw Neosho River water into water that’s safe for the community to drink.
He hopes to draw a large crowd to the water plant for a pair of tours, at 2 and 6 p.m. May 21.
Humboldt also has rescheduled tours of its wastewater treatment plant, at 2 and 6 p.m. May 19, Humboldt City Administrator Larry Tucker said.
The public is invited to the tours.

THE CITY will add about $8,000 to the landscaping project at Centennial Park, the play area surrounding the newly refurbished and expanded Humboldt Municipal Pool.
The added funds include about $4,612 for TLC Greenhouse of LaHarpe to add shrubbery, trees and grassy areas. The money will come from the city’s equipment reserve.
Council members also set a $4,000 spending limit to hire J & J Contractors, Inc. of Iola to build a pair of guardrails along a North Eighth Street bridge.
The new bridge was built last summer, City Administrator Larry Tucker said.
Original plans were to build only a guardrail on the west side of the bridge for $2,500, “but we need one on the east side as well,” said council member Jerry Griffith.
Council members also agreed in principal to a proposal from KwiKom to use Humboldt’s three water towers for its antennas in order to provide high-speed wireless Internet service to the city.
In exchange, KwiKom, based in Iola, will provide free Internet access at City Hall, the library, swimming pool, water plant, wastewater treatment plant and public works facility. KwiKom will also provide services for the county ambulance barn and an emergency preparedness center if one is built in Humboldt.
KwiKom also plans to provide free Wi-Fi service at Cannon Park, the city square, Camp Hunter, the swimming pool, Walter Johnson Park and Manion and Sweatt ball fields.
Final details will be hammered out between KwiKom and Works.
The city will sell a pair of old vehicles, a 1969 oil distribution truck and a 1988 half-ton Chevy pickup, to Eighth Street Auto for $125 each. Ed Kuhn of Chanute will buy a 1993 Ford pickup for $125. Those were highest bids received to purchase the old vehicles.