Fluoride flowing back into Pinellas water supply - FOX 13 News

Fluoride flowing back into Pinellas water supply

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  • Fluoride flowing back into Pinellas water supplyMore>>

  • No more fluoride in Pinellas water

    No more fluoride in Pinellas water

    Pinellas County Commissioners decided Tuesday afternoon to stop adding fluoride to the water supply. The decision came as a surprise because the county just started fluoridating water eight years ago, so it was considered a...
    Pinellas County Commissioners decided Tuesday afternoon to stop adding fluoride to the water supply. The decision came as a surprise because the county just started fluoridating water eight years ago, so it was considered a...
TARPON SPRINGS (FOX 13) -

As the clock struck midnight Thursday, changes came to Pinellas County's water. Fluoride had been in the supply from 2004 until 2011, when it was voted out.

But now, voters in last November's election have spoken, and that means fluoride is once again being added to the water supply, for more than a half-million people.

It happened with the press of a button at the Keller Treatment Plant in Tarpon Springs, where fluoride from a nearby holding tank is precisely dispensed into the county's water supply.

"Flip it on and press start," said Operator Specialist Sean James at the Keller Treatment Plant. That's all it takes to get the fluoride flowing again.

The county supplies water to about 700,000 people, including several small towns that buy county water. It's been more than a year since fluoride went away, stopped by a commission vote of 4 to 3.

Then, it became a hot-button issue in last November's election. Two of the four commissioners up for re-election got swept out of office by the fluoride wave, Neil Brickfield, Nancy Bostock, Janet Long and Charlie Justice rode that wave in.

Here's what Bostock told us about fluoride, while she was campaigning back in November.

"When it comes up, it's few and far between," she said.

"As little an issue they considered it to be, it turned out to be a big issue because we definitely got two people into office that will definitely help our citizens get water fluoridation back," said Dr. Edward Busch of the Pinellas Dental Association.

The vote to bring it back was six to one, triggered largely by strong backing from the medical and dental communities.

"Dentists are supporting financially, dentists are out knocking on doors waving signs, telling their patients and their neighbors," Justice said.

"I couldn't go to mass on Sunday without someone talking to me about this issue," Long said.

Voters spoke, and one little switch put those words into action Friday morning at 12:01.

Water customers shouldn't notice any change in the taste of the drinking water. And for the thousands who voted "for" fluoride, they're still savoring the taste of an election victory.

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