Port Arthur Water Department recognized for help preventing tooth decay, improving oral health

Published 12:10 am Friday, November 27, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has presented the Port Arthur Water Department with a Water Fluoridation Quality Award.

Texas Department of State Health Services sent a letter addressed to Mayor Thurman Bartie, informing him of the award. Bartie read the letter during this week’s city council meeting with Water Department Director Donnie Stanton present via videoconference.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commends this water system for its consistent and professional adjustment of the fluoride content to the recommended level for oral health for 12 consecutive months in 2019,” Bartie read. “High-quality water fluoridation as demonstrated by this water system is a safe and effective method to prevent tooth decay and improve the oral health of all community residents.”

The award, according to the letter, recognizes water departments in Texas that maintain a consistent level of optimal fluoridation of water throughout 2019. It is based on the submittal of reports to the Texas Fluoridation Program.

Of 1,523 public water systems in 29 states that are so honored, 65 are located in Texas.

“I continue to be astounded by how professional and how truly consistent the professionals at our water purification plant are, because the dosage of fluoride is very small to make it effective,” Stanton said.

“It’s 0.7 parts per million. We have equipment to do that, but we have professionals who double the required sample rate at our plant just to make sure everything, not just fluoride, is safe for our community. We’re proud to be a shining jewel in Port Arthur’s crown, I like to say.”

Water fluoridation is considered one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century by the CDC, Bartie read from the letter.

Stanton said his department continues to maintain a superior rating for the state, which is not easy to attain and harder to maintain.

“The whole water department, I compliment them all,” District 2 Councilman Cal Jones said. “They’ve all done a good jam-up job. They’ve been taking care of our citizens through hard times and tough times, but they kept their hands on the plow.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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