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The delay affects all homes served by the EL Smith plant, which covers most of the city as well as several surrounding municipalities, including Spruce Grove, St. Albert and Leduc. The northeast quadrant of the city is served by the Rossdale water treatment plant and has not experienced any fluoride outages.
A full list of Edmonton neighborhoods affected by the fluoride break can be found on the Epcor website.
Fluoride has been added to Edmonton’s water supply since 1967 and is considered the easiest and most convenient way to improve dental health and prevent tooth decay. When consumed, the mineral strengthens teeth by making the enamel more resistant to damage. Adding fluoride to the water supply is a decision of individual municipalities and is not done in some communities. It’s a long-standing debate in Calgary, with city council recently voting to end the process in 2011.
Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River already has fluoride levels of around 0.1 parts per million, so enough fluoride is added during the treatment process to bring the concentration levels to 0.7 parts per million.
For residents affected by the fluoride disruption, Alberta Health Services recommends the use of fluoridated toothpaste to compensate for the disruption along with regular dental check-ups.
The water remains drinkable during the interruption and there is no change in taste or color.