Fluoride costs unknown

News staff writer

May 4

The costs of fluoridating Hood River’s water supply have not yet been tabulated.

City Manager Bob Francis said staffers are now gathering data that will be available to the public in July. The city intends to get the word out to voters before the “should we fluoridate or should we not” question appears on the November ballot. In fact, the city has posted a Web site, www.hoodriverfactcheck.org, as another vehicle to get informational outreach to its constituency.

In December 2004 the city council decided to ask citizens to put a neutral measure on the November general election ballot. They also agreed to launch an education campaign to provide citizens with facts about the costs for installation and maintenance of a fluoridation operation.

Francis does not anticipate that the expenses for standard fluoridation, if approved, will be as high as previously thought. However, he said the costs could also be significantly higher if Measure 14-23 passes on May 17 and only “pure” fluoride is deemed acceptable. The measure prohibits any fluoride that is a by-product of industrial waste and doesn’t meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Maximum Level Contaminant Goals.

“If people vote for fluoride it doesn’t necessarily mean that water rates will go up,” Francis said.

In 2002, the city estimated it would cost about $105,000 for a combination chloride/fluoride building, $535 a month for supplies and $1,000 for monthly maintenance. In addition, the city expected to incur extra labor costs of about $27,000 annually to monitor the additive program.

Francis said these figures included some equipment that was not necessary. For example, he said an expensive full HAZMAT protective suit is not used in cities like The Dalles, which requires workers to wear heavy rubber gloves and a respirator. He also said if the plant is built within the next five years, during replacement of the aging water main, the construction expenses for the fluoridation plant should also go down.

“There are a lot of unknowns on the costs right now. We will have a clearer direction for the answers after the vote on 14-23,” said Francis.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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