Reintroduction of Fluoride

Study Results & Progress

February 26, 2020

Windsor, ON: The Board of Commissioners of the Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC) today authorized the management team of ENWIN Utilities Ltd. (ENWIN) to conduct further tests prior to the reintroduction of fluoride into Windsor’s water system.

During a regular WUC meeting, Commissioners reviewed results of recent tests conducted by Jacobs Engineering (Jacobs), including a treatability assessment, a review of fluoride additives and a recommendation for a fluoride system design. The world-renowned water engineering company also reviewed the potential effect of fluoride on ENWIN’s corrosion control program.

While it is noted that the potential for interference in corrosion control is very limited, the Jacobs report recommended further testing, in order to ensure that the introduction of fluoride would not impact WUC’s ability to meet or exceed provincial regulations and federal drinking water guidelines for lead content.

Research has indicated that WUC will be the first known water utility to add fluoride to a drinking supply that already contains phosphoric acid, used in the existing corrosion control program. Researchers found many examples of utilities introducing corrosion control programs into systems with existing fluoridation, but the opposite order of introduction does not appear to have been tested.

"To our knowledge, this has not been tried before,” ENWIN’s VP Water Operations Garry Rossi, explained. "Conducting further tests will allow us to exercise an abundance of caution with respect to the health and safety of our drinking water supply. We would rather take a bit longer in the testing phase, to ensure the best possible outcome."

The report from Jacobs specifically recommended the use of WUC’s pipe test loop to study water quality during a 12-month period. This is the same methodology ENWIN used to evaluate the impact of its corrosion control program, prior to implementation in 2016. The success of this methodology is evident in the lead results reported through WUC’s semi-annual corrosion monitoring program.

The pipe test loop apparatus replicates the existing distribution system on a smaller scale. Data from this testing would be evaluated to ensure that the fluoride addition does not negatively affect the corrosion control program.

The testing is expected to be completed by the middle of 2021. With favourable results, fluoride implementation is now expected to commence in late 2021.

"We are dedicated to ensuring the water we provide is safe and reliable," commented ENWIN President & CEO, Helga Reidel. "We have received a 100% rating on our annual audit by the Ministry for the last eight years, and we want to ensure we maintain our consistently high standards. Further testing will provide reassurance for WUC and for the public."

In 2019, ENWIN and the Windsor Utilities Commission produced 38.7 trillion litres of potable water, delivered to Windsor, Tecumseh and LaSalle.