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West Salem receives water award

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A healthy award

West Salem Water Utility Superintendent Loren Schwier receives an award as one of five Wisconsin communities receiving the Community Water Fluoridation 50- Year Award from Jennifer Martinson of the Wisconsin Oral Health Coalition. Schwier has been the operator of the West Salem Water Utility for 17 years.

The village of West Salem has received a 50-year award for its work to fluoridate its water.

The honor came from the American Dental Association, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for continuously adjusting and maintaining the amount of fluoride in drinking water for the prevention of tooth decay in adults and children.

The award recognizes communities that achieved excellence in community water fluoridation by maintaining a consistent level of fluoride in drinking water for 50 consecutive years.

For 2018, five communities in Wisconsin received this award. Nearly 3.6 million Wisconsinites have access to fluoridated water, which is 88.4 percent of those on public water systems, exceeding the Healthy People 2020 target of 76.9 percent.

Casey Hannan, acting director of the CDC Division of Oral Health, said: “Water fluoridation is one of the best investments that a community can make in maintaining the oral health of its citizens. It is equally effective in preventing cavities in children and adults. Fluoridation is also highly cost effective. Studies continue to show that the economic benefit of fluoridation programs exceed their cost. An individual can enjoy a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one dental filling.”

Community water fluoridation has been recognized by CDC as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

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