Potsdam fluoride system bid goes over maximum, project on hold for now
Friday, February 21, 2020 - 5:18 pm

BY CRAIG FREILICH
North Country This Week

POTSDAM -- The installation of a new fluoride system for municipal water to replace the old failing system is on hold for the time being because the only bid received for the project was higher than the village had prepared for.

Options now are “working with the bidder to discuss the price” with the hope of bringing it more into line with what the village thinks it can pay, putting the job out to bid again hoping for a better result, “or buying the unit and putting it in with help” from an experienced outside contractor, said Village Administrator Greg Thompson. This last option is the one Thompson would prefer, he said.

The village had expected the new unit to be installed by this coming spring, followed by as state Health Department inspection.

The decision to replace the old unit to continue fluoridating the water came after several rounds of long discussions at village board meetings with large contingents from both sides with outside experts to debate the question, and a public hearing with similar characteristics.

Fluoridating municipal water for its benefits of stemming tooth decay in citizens has long been controversial in this country, with those opposed expressing concern about the side effects of fluoride and others opposed to the notion of adding any such thing to the water supply.

Those speaking at these meetings in 2018 in favor of fluoridation was a string of many local health professionals and others presenting strong outside evidence and personal experience with the benefit of fluoridation for the health of the population, particularly children.

The board approved replacing the old system in September 2018 on a 4-1 vote.

At its meeting Feb. 18 the village board paid $1,200 to consultants Environmental Design and Research (EDR) for professional services on the project through Dec. 31 2019.

The board also paid EDR $9,000 for their help with specifications on the maintenance on the water tower on the Clarkson campus, and $3,000 for continuing work to find leaks in the water distribution system.