LACONIA — The Laconia Water Works has received the highest honor given to public water systems by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Hampshire Division for Public Services for its management of fluoridation in 2012.
"We're on our game," Water Works Superintendent Seth Nuttleman said yesterday. ""The award is a recognition of the professionalism and attention to detail of our staff." He said that the credit lies with Floyd Dungelman, the water quality supervisor, and the 16 employees of the department for their diligence and skill.
The Fluoridation Quality Award, announced last week, celebrates public water systems for maintaining the concentration of fluoride within appropriate ranges for 12 consecutive months. Nuttleman said that there are a dozen municipal water systems in the state that fluoridate their drinking water, and the Laconia Water Works was one of only three to be recognized. He said that fluoride concentrations are randomly tested each month.
Since the introduction of fluoride to public drinking water supplies in the 1950s the incidence of tooth decay has fallen significantly, particularly among children.
Although the use of fluoride was approved by a public referendum in November, 1975, it was not added to the city's drinking water until the water treatment plant was constructed in 1989. In 2011 concern about levels of fluoridation led the United States Environmental Protection Agency to direct those public water systems that fluoridate their drinking water to reduce the levels to 0.7 milligrams per liter, and since February 2011 the Laconia Water Works has complied with the recommended concentrations.