Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Steidel Named DPU Director

Bob Steidel

Chief Administrative Officer Byron C. Marshall announced that Robert Steidel has been selected to serve as director of Public Utilities, effective March 7. Steidel had served as interim director for the department since July 31, 2010, replacing Chris Beschler who had served as director of Public Utilities while also serving as deputy chief administrative officer of Operations.

Steidel was the deputy director for the Department of Public Utilities for more than seven years. Prior to beginning city service, he served as the environmental manager for the city of Hopewell’s Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility; industrial surveillance supervisor for the Rock River Water Reclamation District in Rockford, Ill.; environmental health sanitarian for Winnebago County Department of Public Health in Rockford, Ill.; and biologist for Winona State University, Minn.

“Bob Stiedel has proven to be a valuable asset to the Department of Public Utilities and has provided excellent leadership in managing the stormwater utility,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “We look forward to his continued expertise in providing utility services to the city and surrounding county residents, while protecting our region’s most treasured resource in the James River.”

Stiedel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Winona State University, Minn., and a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Monday, March 7, 2011

City Reduces Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water

The city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities has reduced the fluoride levels in the drinking water treatment process from 0.90 milligrams per liter (mg\l) to 0.70 mg\l of water, effective March 1, 2011.

This comes as a result of a January 2011 recommendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In a joint press release, HHS proposed "that the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water can be set at the lowest end of the current optimal range to prevent tooth decay." This replaces the previous recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter. The reasons for the change include the increased access of Americans to more sources of fluoride. The new guidance updates and replaces recommendations provided in 1962 by the U.S. Public Health Service.

"Reducing the fluoride dose will not require a change in the city's drinking water treatment process and comes at no increase in cost," said Bob Steidel, director of the Richmond Department of Public Utilities. "Based upon the EPA and HHS recommendation, we want to ensure that we are doing everything we can to maximize the health benefits of our city's drinking water fluoridation process."

Dr. Donald Stern, Richmond City director of Public Health, noted that "the U.S. Centers for Disease Control considers water fluoridation one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century due to its contribution to improved dental health. Extensive literature review has shown that the new fluoridation standard is best to prevent disease while avoiding excess fluoride exposure."

For more information about national and state drinking water regulations for fluoride, visit the EPA website, the Center for Disease Control, or the Virginia Office of Drinking Water.