Government

Years Old Mechanical Issue Halts Fluoridation of Yorktown's Water

951b7d43b3ea870f0aac_eb35c4d0a0a6507d53ec_86701bb608c22a9db27d_848396dab4ceb84568b0_1dad0f92ea977829c058_44985.jpg
Credits: Stock Photo
951b7d43b3ea870f0aac_eb35c4d0a0a6507d53ec_86701bb608c22a9db27d_848396dab4ceb84568b0_1dad0f92ea977829c058_44985.jpg

AMAWALK, N.Y. – A four-year-old mechanical issue has shut down Yorktown’s supply of fluoridated drinking water.

Equipment problems halted water fluoridation last week and were expected to keep the cavity-fighting chemical out of the water supply until early 2019, the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works said in a statement.

In the meantime, residents generally—and especially the parents of young children—are being urged to consider fluoride supplements or other steps to offset loss of the chemical protection.

Sign Up for E-News

Dr. Carl H. Tegtmeier of Mount Kisco, an outspoken advocate of fluoridation, said babies and children benefit dramatically from early application. “As the teeth form in their jaws, the fluoride is incorporated into the enamel and it makes it much less susceptible to cavities,” he said.

“If they’re not getting fluoride for a couple of years, it will show up in their getting more cavities,” said Tegtmeier, who is chairman of the five-county 9th District Dental Association’s Dental Health Committee.

The Northern Westchester Joint Water Works, established in 1995, serves Somers, Yorktown, Cortlandt and the Montrose Improvement District. Among other things, it treats drinking water with fluoride, optimally at a ratio of 0.7 parts per million gallons of tap water.

The fluoridation plant serving about a third of Yorktown and all of Somers—the Amawalk Water Treatment Facility—does not have a mechanical problem. But a second Water Works plant—the Catskill Water Treatment Facility in Cortlandt, which provides the other two-thirds of Yorktown’s tap water—has been having problems for almost four years.

“The fluoride feed system at our Catskill Facility has been off line since January 2013,” the Water Works said last week in a prepared statement, “and under engineering review for an upgrade.” Matthew Geho, the Works operations director, was not immediately available to expand on the statement.

But Tegtmeier said Yorktown’s fluoridated Amawalk output mixed with the untreated Catskill supply, making it impossible to estimate fluoride levels in the water or calculate the strength of alternative solutions that dentists could prescribe.

“We had no idea, day to day, who was getting what level, and so there were suboptimal levels of fluoridation going on,” Tegtmeier said. “Somers was probably getting the optimal level, but as it came across Yorktown going to the west, people were not getting it.”

By removing all fluoride, he said, dentists will have a uniform standard against which to prescribe preventive measures.

Westchester health officials decided—and dentists agreed—that it was better to eliminate fluoride completely on a temporary basis so proper supplements could be prescribed.

“There’s no other way to do it,” Tegtmeier said. “Some days you’re getting the right amount [of fluoride in the tap water]; other days, you’re not.”  

Tegtmeier insists fluoride “does prevent cavities. You’re looking at probably a 20 to 30 percent reduction in cavities, which is significant.”

A state study, Tegtmeier said, compared the oral health of youngsters in Westchester, where 85 percent of the public water has been fluoridated, with those in Rockland, where no water has been treated.

“The kids in Rockland had twice as much dental work done,” he said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Yorktown

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Remembering Bobby Kennedy

I’m not the type of person who is prone to hero worship. Witnessing people screaming hysterically during rock concerts never sat well with me. Yes, I did see many a great group (the Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, the Who, the Doors), yet my demeanor was always one reflecting inner peace rather than extreme exuberance.

I was offered tickets to Woodstock (yes, originally you needed ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Andy’s at It Again

June 13, 2018

A couple of years ago, I wrote to question why Andy wasn’t citing his sources when he flings dirt at any Democrat he wants to malign.

Well, he’s at it again. In the latest iteration, he tells us that Obama was responsible for putting a spy in the Trump campaign. He then repeats himself three more times to emphasize his point, but gives no proof or evidence to back up the ...

Yorktown Youth Soccer Club Results

June 15, 2018

Sunday, June 10  - The Yorktown Crew clinched the Westchester Youth Soccer League JV-1 Division with a 4-3 win over Rivertown FC on Sunday. The team has been on a remarkable run for the past 2 seasons with a team record of 16-1-1. Sunday’s matchup vs Rivertown had a championship like atmosphere as Rivertown trailed Yorktown by 1 point in the standings. The Crew worked hard all week in ...