Water transferred to Cowarra and Port Macquarie Dams includes fluoride that is added to the level of 1mg per litre. Until the entire storage area reaches this concentration, the large volume of water in storage at each dam dilutes the fluoride concentration levels to below the required level of 1mg per litre.
In 2019, in consultation with NSW Health, we paused fluoride dosing when the severe drought meant we could not draw water from the Hastings River as normal. Fluoride dosing was removed from the usual control sequence as dam levels dropped in order to maximise available extraction opportunities. The pause on fluoride dosing also coincided with a review of environmental considerations around open water storage dams and water distribution network.
Since the drought, we have replenished our dam levels, but this pause on fluoride dosing for the bulk supply has meant the level of fluoride in the dams has been significantly diluted.
We recommenced fluoride dosing directly to the Wauchope water supply in April 2021. Fluoridation of the Hastings bulk water supply recommenced in September 2021.
NSW Health requires us to report where fluoride levels of 0.9mg/L have been reached and maintained for 3 months.
Because the fluoride levels in our bulk water supply is diluted, we have never reached this reporting target. We provide regular reports on fluoride levels to NSW Health for both water supplies. These levels are also available to the community in the graph above.