Water Fluoridation in Erie County, Pennsylvania

List of fluoridated and non-fluoridated drinking water systems in Erie County

In December 2002, Erie started fluoridating its drinking water, affecting over 50,000 "customers" (one household of people = one customer), bringing the percentage of Erie County residents being served with fluoridated water from 6% to 87%.

Total direct customers:
Millcreek (direct):10,434
Lawrence Park:1,524

The Erie City Water Authority's customer base, according to its 2001 revenue report
[source: Suburbs face fluoride issue (10/22/2002)]

History of Erie Fluoridation Fight

For additional articles related to the Erie fluoridation fight, search for "fluori*" at www.goerie.com.

Sept 2001Scare tactics start.Report: Region's children have worst teeth in state (9/13/2001)
Mar 2001City Council passes resolution against state-wide mandatory fluoridation bill. City Council votes to oppose state fluoride legislation (3/14/2001)
Sept-Nov 2001Initially, City Council members planned to vote on the fluoridation issue. When realizing that they were outnumbered 4-3 by proponents (led by soon-to-be mayor, councilman Rick Filippi), they opted to put the decision in the hands of the voters through a ballot measure. Council voted 4-3 to put it on the ballot. At the same meeting, they also voted on instructing the Water Authority to fluoridate, but the results of the vote were in question (as is the council's legal ability to instruct an independent Authority on what to do). Erie citizens collected 1,400 signatures to put an initiative on the November 2001 ballot, but missed the filing deadline. Also, since Pennsylvania law doesn't allow non-binding initiative or referenda, the question never would have made it to the voters, anyway. Council to vote next week on adding fluoride to water (9/14/2001)
Bagnoni wants fluoride question on ballot (9/17/2001)
City will let voters speak about fluoridation (9/20/2001)
Bagnoni leads petition drive on fluoride (9/27/2001)
Anti-fluoridation group petitions for referendum (10/1/2001)
Jenkins-Husband defends vote (10/9/2001)
Fluoride won't be on ballot (10/9/2001)
Hearing postponed in fluoridation case (10/23/2001)
Fluoridation ballot ruling postponed (10/29/2001)
Court rejects ballot issue on fluoride (11/2/2001)

Sept 2001Water Authority votes to fluoridate.Water authority proves its value (9/21/2001)
Water Authority votes to flouridate Erie water supply (9/21/2001)
Oct 2001Water Authority asked to reconsider.Fluoridation stirs debate at Water Authority meeting (10/18/2001)
July 2002Projected fluoridation costs double.Water Authority delays fluoridation (7/21/2002)
7/18/2002Water Authority approve building contracts.Authority OKs fluoridation building contracts (7/19/2002)
8/7/2002The 2002 City Council, with a majority against fluoridation, unanimously passes a resolution prohibiting the Erie Water Authority from adding any chemicals to the city's water supply. This doesn't become an official ordinance until passed at two additional meetings. The solicitor warned City Council that local governments in Pennsylvania do not have legal power to control the actions of the authorities they create.Council takes swipe at Water Authority (8/7/2002)
9/18/2002City Council votes 6-0 to give preliminary approval to the Safe Drinking Water Act ordinance. Some Council members threaten to disband and reform the Erie Water Authority, but this never happens, since the City would have to assume the Authority's $50 million debt.Council threatens Water Authority (9/19/2002)
10/2/2002City Council votes 5-2 for final passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act, prohibiting the Water Authority from adding any chemicals, including fluoride, to the city's water supply unless they meet certain criteria. They also vote 4-3 to send a letter to the Erie City Water Authority notifying the authority it may be breaking its lease by adding fluoride into the water system.Fluoride issue might go to court (10/3/2002)
10/14/2002Mayor Rick Filippi vetoes the Safe Drinking Water Act ordinance.Filippi vetoes water ordinance (10/15/2002)
10/16/2002City council fails to override the Mayor's veto, falling two votes short of the 5 votes needed. Council undecided on veto override (10/15/2002)
Veto override fails (10/17/2002)
Oct 2002Erie Brewing Company may have to install fluoride removal equipment.Beermaker faces fluoride's bitter taste (10/27/2002)
Oct 2002Erie Water Authority puts money into pro-fluoride public relations efforts.Water Authority to spend $50,000 to educate public about fluoridation (10/23/2002)
12/3/2002Fluoridation begins, effecting over 52,000 customers.Fluoride arrives -- Treated water will reach your home this week (12/4/2002)
Dec 2002 - May 2003City Council hires "special legal council" to sue over the fluoridation permits. However, the City's solicitor (siding with the Mayor's office), petitions to have the lawsuit dropped, since the lawyer hired by council is not allowed to represent the city, even though City Council hired him. The courts agree and drop the suit, since the suit wasn't properly brought on behalf of the City of Erie.Council backs fluoride suit (12/5/2002)
Fluoride suit surprise to plaintiff (1/28/2003)
Fluoride case challenged (2/4/2003)
Council tables LERTA rollback (3/13/2003)
Fluoride challenge thrown out (5/9/2003)

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Last modified: 28 June 2003