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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Despite voter approval of fluoridation in Salt Lake County, Holladay Water Co. does not plan to fluoridate the water it provides to 15,000 residents.
It said more than 70 percent of customers it surveyed do not want fluoride in their water.
"We wanted to do what our customers wanted us to do," Holladay Water Manager Marlin Sundberg said Monday. "We don't believe we are covered by the (2000) vote. If the county takes us to court, then the judge can decide who's right."
The Salt Lake Valley Health Department, which is charged with enforcing the voter-approved mandate, may have to sue to force the company to comply, according to Royal DeLegge, the department's director of environmental health.
"They are covered by the regulation," DeLegge said.
The health department's target date for adding fluoride is Oct. 1, and DeLegge said that as far as he knows, all the valley's water companies planned to do so.
He has yet to hear from Holladay Water, which he said qualifies as a public water system because it serves more than 25 people.
Deputy District Attorney Craig Anderson, who advises the health department, says the health board will have several options if the company does not comply, including serving a notice of violation, proceeding with a lawsuit or pursuing criminal charges.
State law provides for a class B misdemeanor for violations of health regulations.
Unlike a similar fluoride vote in Davis County, where communities with functionally separate systems were allowed to opt out of fluoridation, Salt Lake County's ballot issue did not include any such provision, Anderson said.
Holladay Mayor Dennis Larkin says he would be happy if the water company kept out fluoride. "I don't want a drop of it in our city," he said.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)