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Better teeth on tap for residents

Brookhaven will get a nearly $200,000 grant to replace fluoridation equipment that is already over 10 years old.

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen approved the $195,000 grant Tuesday for Mitchell Technical Services, the contractor for the Brookhaven Water Treatment Plant

Replacing the fluoridation equipment will make it easier to provide fluoride for the city, said Ralph Augimeri of Mitchell Technical Services.

The grant will cover engineering and equipment costs and reimburses the city for the first year of chemicals. The new equipment is estimated to last for a decade.

“This rarely ever happens to us, but this is a great opportunity,” Augimeri said. “Brookhaven has qualified for this because we’ve added fluoride to our water system for over 50 years.”

Adding the new fluoridation equipment will cause a slight increase in operating costs — starting in the second year — because Mitchell will be using fluorosilicic acid, which is safer for the workers versus using the original granular solution.

According to the Center for Disease Control, community water systems in the United States use one of three additives for water fluoridation:

• Fluorosilicic acid: a water-based solution used by most water systems in the United States. Fluorosilicic acid is also referred to as hydrofluorosilicate, FSA or HFS.

• Sodium fluorosilicate: a dry additive, dissolved into a solution before being added to water.

• Sodium fluoride: a dry additive, typically used in small water systems, dissolved into a solution before being added to water.

The increase will be passed on to consumers, but it will be barely noticeable.

“That’s about $4,700 a year, which equals out to be maybe 3 cents a person per month,” Augimeri said.

“Right now, over two-thirds of the U.S. population receives fluoridation,” Augimeri said. “If you add the rural systems to it, 75 percent of the U.S. population receives fluoridation.”

According to the American Dental Association, fluoride in water has several benefits including the prevention of tooth decay and protection against cavities,

Augimeri expects the funding to come in the fall. “Most communities are only getting about a 10th of this amount because they’re small communities, but they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck with us.”

Public Works Director Keith Lewis completely agrees. “We’re one out of 10 systems in Mississippi that’s been feeding [fluoride] into the system for over 50 years,” he said.

In other business:

• Aldermen were informed that the service schedule for Train 58 — “The City of New Orleans” — will be temporarily changed due to the approaching track work starting March 6. This will consist of a 4-hour later arrival and departure time. Train 58 will depart from New Orleans at 5:45 p.m. each day and arrive in Brookhaven at approximately 7:56 p.m.

• Aldermen agreed to pay $36,700 to Greenbriar Digging Services to alleviate drainage problems on Brookwood Drive. Public Works Director Keith Lewis said there are about 20 houses that deal with drainage problems regularly due to the different sizes of the pipes in owners’ yards.

• Aldermen approved Downtown Jazzed Up, which is Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m.  Brookhaven Tourism Council has planned this event to attract tourists and residents to the downtown area.

• Aldermen approved the hire of Nathaniel White in the street department as an operator and Shamonte Brooks in the street department as a CDL-endorsed driver.

• The minutes from the Feb. 7 meeting were approved.

• The request to remove unused items in the city clerk’s office was approved.

• The January report for the Brookhaven Fire Department, which included 28 calls within the city limits and one in the county, was approved.

• City employee Billy Case’s request for reimbursement of approximately $169 to attend the Mississippi Mosquito and Vector Control Association annual meeting at the Pearl Community Center in Pearl was approved.