Niles Water Department receives award from CDC, DHHS

NILES — The City of Niles Water Department received a Water Fluoridation Quality Award for 2019.

Leanne Caddy, superintendent of the City of Niles Water Department, was excited to receive the award and proud of her team. She said her team works hard to ensure residents continue to receive water at all hours of the day, and wanted to highlight the department’s win to remind others of the work they do when not in a utilities emergency.

“We have water operators that are on call 24/7,” Caddy said. “They are out in the worst elements. You go to your faucet, and the water is there, and it’s good. We only get called when it’s bad.”

The award comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To be recognized, the water department runs tests on the water supply each day and reports the findings in a Water Fluoridation Reporting System. For Niles, Caddy reports the results of the tests to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, which regulates public water supplies throughout the state.

EGLE has oversight of around 1,400 community water supplies and 10,000 non-community water supplies, according to their website. The city of Niles is just one of those.

To receive the Water Fluoridation Quality Award, Caddy said the department has to report an optimum fluoride dosage in the water supply for 12 consecutive months.

“The fluoride is a good thing in very small doses,” Caddy said. “It helps the children, mostly, that may not be able to go to the dentist and get fluoride treatments. It’s given to them in the water, and is good for their teeth and bones.”

The target for fluoridation is specific, according to Caddy. The goal is 0.7 mg per liter of water.

“That is our target,” Caddy said. “That is what they say has the most benefits.”

Testing for the fluoride levels each day is a task her team takes on.

“We do have some natural fluoride in the water, so we have to balance that with how much you add to come up with that golden number.”

Caddy has been superintendent of the City of Niles Water Department for a little over a year.

“This was my first year as superintendent we received this award,” Caddy said. “I’m pretty happy about that. Everybody has all of this bad news going on with COVID-19, so it is nice to share something positive.”

Caddy said the water department has kept working throughout the year.

“We’re making sure people had good, quality drinking water and electricity,” Caddy said. “That’s a shout out to my guys on the team.”

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