VALLEY SPRINGS — The Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority board is scheduled to meet Thursday night and board chairman Andy Anderson is still asking members for help to pay for a lawsuit.
Act 197 of 2011 required all water systems serving 5,000 people or more to add fluoride to drinking water. The authority believed that because it technically sells water to only 18 rural water systems in Boone, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties and none of those individual systems serves 5,000 people, the law would not apply.
The state Health Department mandated that the authority comply with Act 197, but some of the water systems had threatened to unhook from the authority if fluoride was added to the water. The authority then appealed the Health Departments mandate to Boone County Circuit Court with member systems agreeing to pitch in money for legal fees.
In a decision handed down after a court hearing in early March, Circuit Judge Andrew Bailey ruled that the law requiring fluoridation did apply to the water authority. Later that month, the authority board voted to appeal that decision to the state Supreme Court
In an email to board members, Anderson said the appeal brief had been filed and he received an invoice from the authority’s lawyer for $5,512. However, there was no money in the account to pay that bill. Anderson had been personally covering some legal bills.
Anderson maintains that the adverse health effects of fluoridation far outweigh any benefits and appealed to member systems to contribute to the legal fund.
“If you are not helping with this battle then I assume you are consenting to drugs in your water supply,” Anderson wrote.
Anderson also said one water filter at the treatment plant is down and being repaired. A mobile filter unit is on standby at the plant, but if it has to be put to use the state will require a boil water order for all systems.
The board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in Valley Springs City Hall on Elm Street just off Highway 65.