Seqwater has begun construction on a new $4 million water treatment plant in Canungra, in Southeast Queensland, which will replace the existing plant.
Building work began in August 2016 and is expected to take up to 12 months to complete.
The existing plant, which was built in 1970 and upgraded in 1982, will be progressively decommissioned and replaced over the 12 months.
During the construction period, the existing plant will continue to supply drinking water to Canungra, however its fluoride dosing building will need to be immediately decommissioned to make way for the new facility.
As a result, the plant will not be adding fluoride to Canungra’s drinking water until the new plant is operational.
Water fluoridation is the process of adding fluoride to a water source so the level of fluoride in the water reaches the recommended level of fluoride for good dental health.
In South East Queensland, fluoride is added to the water supply at a level of 0.8 milligrams per litre in accordance with the Water Fluoridation Act 2008, Water Fluoridation Regulation 2008 and Water Fluoridation Code of Practice 2010.
Seqwater Acting Chief Executive Officer Jim Pruss said Queensland Health and Queensland Urban Utilities has been advised of the fluoridation stoppage.
Mr Pruss said the bulk water authority is also engaging with the local community about the project as it develops.
Chief Dental Officer for the Queensland Department of Health Dr Mark Brown said during the 12-month period when there would be no water fluoridation, affected residents were encouraged to contact their family dentist or public dental service to obtain individual advice on what topical fluoride was best suited to their individual needs.
“This may for example involve more regular professional applications of fluoride varnishes or gels, or a change in their existing oral hygiene regime,” Dr Brown said.
“This will help to minimise the impact of the absence of fluoridated water for the 12 months.”
Mr Pruss thanked the community for their understanding and patience during the construction period.
“Once completed, the new plant will cater for increased water demand for a growing Canungra community,” Mr Pruss said.
“The current plant produces 0.4 million litres of treated drinking water each day, but the new plant will have almost four times the production capacity, with the ability to treat 1.5 million litres each day.
“The population is expected to grow to 3,000 residents over the next 20 years, so building the new plant is essential to support the community and local businesses into the future.”