Olivenhain Municipal Water District began fluoridating on July 24, 2013. Information about fluoridation is presented below for the benefit of our customers. For questions or concerns that are not addressed by the FAQs, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

When did OMWD begin adding fluoride to its water?

Fluoridation began on July 24, 2013. Implementation was originally scheduled for July 1, but was subjected to a short delay as the California Department of Public Health requested additional time to complete its formal amendment of OMWD’s drinking water permit.

How much fluoride does
OMWD add to its water?

Effective July 2013, OMWD targets the community water fluoridation level of 0.7 parts per million as recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The level of fluoride found in OMWD’s water will continue to be published annually in our Consumer Confidence Report.

Note that fluoride is naturally present in some quantities in all of San Diego County’s water sources. OMWD treats the majority of water delivered to its customers at the David C. McCollom Water Treatment Plant. Prior to July 2013, we did not add any fluoride during this treatment process; however, this treated water still contained approximately 0.18 parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L) of fluoride in 2012. OMWD also receives a percentage (32% in 2012) of its treated drinking water from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the San Diego County Water Authority, which is fluoridated. Therefore, even prior to OMWD’s implementation of fluoridation, OMWD customers had received a combination of primarily non-fluoridated water blended with a smaller portion of MWD and SDCWA’s fluoridated water.


Is fluoridation safe?

Yes. Research studies and decades of experience have demonstrated that fluoridating public drinking water is not only safe and effective, it is the best method of improving oral health in a community. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognized drinking water fluoridation as one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.

Community water fluoridation is supported by most major national and international health service organizations, including the CDC, American Dental Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the World Health Organization.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has not recognized claims that low-level fluoride exposure is linked to occurrences of cancer, brain damage or osteoporosis.

In addition, no evidence exists that indicates fluoridated water at the levels prescribed for human consumption is harmful to animals or pets, including aquarium fish.

All customers who had used fluoride supplements prior to July 2013 are encouraged to speak with their medical professional to evaluate whether to continue taking fluoride supplements.

Why is OMWD adding
fluoride to its water?

In April 2012, the First 5 Commission of San Diego County and the California Dental Association Foundation committed to providing over $1 million to OMWD to construct facilities for the purpose of adding fluoride to drinking water. This grant funded design and construction costs for fluoridation facilities, minimizing the financial impact of fluoridation on ratepayers. OMWD’s Board of Directors voted to accept these funds at an opportune moment when construction costs were low. At the time, there was no guarantee that grant funding would be available in the future—a fact that motivated the board to take advantage of the opportunity while ensuring compliance with state law (Health & Safety Code §§116409-116415) over the long term.

Additionally, most of the 24 retail water providers in San Diego County are currently serving fluoridated water. Our neighbors in the City of San Diego, City of Carlsbad, Vallecitos Water District, and Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District service areas all receive fluoridated water. Establishing regional consistency allows OMWD to provide water treated at its David C. McCollom Water Treatment Plant to these municipalities, thus allowing OMWD to operate its treatment plant at full capacity to the benefit of its customers.

In October 2012, the California Department of Public Health notified OMWD that its exemption from fluoridation requirements had been removed.


What if I do not want
to drink fluoridated water?

Customers that are concerned about fluoride in their drinking water may consider the installation of a home water filter using reverse osmosis or distillation technology.

Customers may also choose to drink bottled water that has been treated through reverse osmosis or distillation. Not all brands of bottled water are treated through these processes and many may contain fluoride. Customers are advised to call the consumer information number on the bottle’s label to determine the level of fluoride.

Where can I find additional information?

To find additional information about fluoridation, please visit the following websites:

California Department of Public Health

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

San Diego County Water Authority

Your state legislators may be able to provide additional information about the California law that requires fluoridation.

• Customers with questions are also invited to send us a message.