Sweetwater is not currently adding fluoride to its drinking water; however, the State of California requires all water agencies that serve more than 10,000 homes and businesses to fluoridate their water, if outside funding is provided. In November 2011, the Authority received notice from the California Department of Public Health that funding is now available from First 5 Commission of San Diego for capital costs and the first year of operation. As the Authority moves forward in this process with First 5 and Public Health to comply with state law, we will provide updates on our info line, 619-409-6780, and on this website.
Q: Is Sweetwater Authority's drinking water fluoridated?
A: Not at this time. Sweetwater Authority does not add fluoride at its water treatment plants. [See above regarding temporary water source change]
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the largest wholesaler of San Diego's imported water, working with California Public Health, will begin fluoridating their drinking water supplies by December 2007. Although Sweetwater Authority does not normally purchase treated water from MWD, there may be times during emergencies or plant maintenance that Sweetwater Authority may purchase and distribute treated water from MWD. During those periods, customers in Bonita and in Chula Vista (West of Third Avenue and South of E Street) will receive fluoridated water. Other portions of the service area will receive unfluoridated water or a blend of fluoridated and unfluoridated supplies. As required by the California Department of Public Health, Sweetwater Authority will notify its customers anytime the change to the fluoridated water supply exceeds 90 days.
Fluoride is found naturally in water delivered to Sweetwater Authority customers in levels below the amount recommended for preventing tooth decay. Most water sources contain some naturally occurring fluoride. Since 2003, fluoride levels in Sweetwater’s drinking water have averaged 0.28 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Customers concerned about having too much, or too little fluoride in their water are urged to contact a doctor or dentist to discuss fluoride supplements. When MWD adds fluoride to its drinking water, levels will average about 0.7 to 0.8 mg/L, which is considered as optimal for dental health by the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The State of California requires that water agencies serving more than 10,000 customers fluoridate their drinking water supplies if outside funding is provided. Presently, Sweetwater Authority has not received outside funding, therefore does not fluoridate its drinking water.
Q: What is fluoride?
A: Fluoride is a naturally occurring ionic form of fluorine, the 13th most abundant element on Earth. It is found in many rocks and minerals in the soil and enters drinking water as water passes through these soils. Fluoride is present naturally in almost all foods and beverages including water, but levels can vary widely.
Q: What is fluoridation?
A: Fluoridation is the addition of fluoride to a drinking water supply so that it contains the level recommended for optimal protection against tooth decay.
Q: Why is Metropolitan Water District fluoridating its water supplies?
A: MWD's Board of Directors has examined the fluoridation issue since the 1995 passage of a state law that conditionally mandates fluoridation of any public water supply that has at least 10,000 service connections or customers. Although MWD was exempt from conditions of the law, local public health officials continued to push for large-scale fluoridation to be applied in order to maximize the financial and medical benefits of treating municipal water supplies. After an appeal by a group of public health officials representing six Southern California counties, Metropolitan’s board voted to adopt a policy to fluoridate at all five MWD treatment plants.
Q: Will Sweetwater Authority add fluoride to its drinking water in the future?
A: If outside funding is made available to Sweetwater Authority for capital costs needed to start fluoridation, Sweetwater is mandated by state law to fluoridate its drinking water. If a fluoridation program is initiated, Sweetwater Authority would be responsible for ongoing operational cost.