South Carolina Drinking Water Fluoridation Grant Program

The goal of the South Carolina Drinking Water Fluoridation Grant Program is to increase the number of South Carolinians receiving the oral health benefits of optimally fluoridated drinking water.  The Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) supports the implementation of drinking water fluoridation in communities served by public water systems through the Drinking Water Fluoridation Grant Program.

The purpose of the South Carolina Drinking Water Fluoridation Grant Program is to provide grants to public water systems to assist them in implementing drinking water fluoridation.  The Department of Health and Environmental Control, Bureau of Water, will administer federal grant funds to reimburse eligible public water systems for costs involved in implementing drinking water fluoridation.  Funding support for the Drinking Water Fluoridation Grant Program is provided from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through Cooperative Agreement.


Fluoridation provides substantial benefits in the prevention of tooth decay.  Studies show children who drink optimally fluoridated water have a sixty-six percent (66%) reduction in the incidence of dental caries compared to children who drink water without fluoride.  Fluoridation provides the greatest benefit to those who can least afford preventative or restorative dentistry and reduces dental disease, loss of teeth, time away from work or school, and anesthesia-related risks associated with dental treatment.  In addition, the preventative protection of water fluoridation lasts throughout one's adult life.

According to the Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most economical way to provide the benefits of optimal levels of fluoride to all residents of a community has been proven to be through water fluoridation.  The average cost to provide each resident of a community with fluoridated water is fifty-one cents per year.  For every dollar spent on water fluoridation, over fifty dollars will be saved in future dental costs. It costs approximately forty-two dollars to repair one cavity.  That same amount can provide optimally fluoridated drinking water to an individual for life.

Who is eligible to apply for a fluoridation grant?

Public water systems serving residents of the State of South Carolina that do not currently fluoridate their water supplies at the optimum level of 0.8 - 1.2 parts per million, or that are in need of replacing their existing fluoridation equipment to continue fluoridation, are eligible to apply.  Applicant's operation permit and fee status must be in good standing.  Applicants may not have any outstanding enforcement actions against them.  To be considered for reimbursement, expenses must have been incurred during the grant period: June 30, 2010 through June 15, 2011.

What can the money be used for?

Grant awards will fund the initial purchase, installation, or replacement of fluoridation equipment for public water systems to include feeders, testing equipment, and storage tanks (if applicable).  The grant awards may not be used for the purchase of fluoride chemicals, administrative costs, or other indirect costs.

How will funding be awarded?

DHEC has allocated a total of $50,000 for the Drinking Water Fluoridation Grant Program for the current fiscal year.  Applicants will be evaluated and prioritized on the basis of the completeness of the evaluation; the cost per person to fluoridate the water system; the total percentage (based on the total population served) of rural, low-income and minority population served; and the operational history of the water system

What information should be included in the application?

Each application to the Drinking Water Fluoridation Grant Program must contain the following:

  1. Statement of need - identify and describe the need for drinking water fluoridation.  Include a statement of the current and historical fluoridation status of the water system.
  2. Brief description of the water system including:
    1. sources of water, and the percentage of the total water production each source provides
    2. treatment process
    3. existing chemical additions
    4. structures housing existing equipment and facilities
    5. list of certified operators (include superintendent and certification grade)
  3. Level of naturally occurring fluoride, in parts per million, per source in the water system's untreated water.
  4. Number of people served by the water system.
  5. The total percentage of rural, low-income and minority population served (provide one percentage for the total of the above populations, not separate figures)
  6. Statement from the management of the water system addressing their commitment to implement fluoridation and consistently maintain optimally fluoridated drinking water.
  7. Statement from the management of the water system certifying the proper staffing of the water treatment facility, the status of the system's operating permit, the status of their fee payment(s), and the absence of any outstanding enforcement actions.
  8. Description of fluoridation equipment requested, including the number of injection points requiring new fluoridation equipment.
  9. Detailed budget for the purchase of requested fluoridation and analytical equipment.
  10. The name of the SCDHEC-certified laboratory (not the water plant laboratory) that will be used for testing and split samples.
  11. Detailed timeline for implementation.

How can I make an application to the fluoridation grant program?

Use the information provided herein to develop the application content.  Your application must be typewritten, two-sided, double-spaced, and with one inch margins on eight and one-half inch by eleven inch paper.  Provide five copies of the completed application, each stapled in the top left corner or bound in a report binder.

How and when will grant awards be determined?

Grant applications must be submitted to SCDHEC's Bureau Water no later than close of business on November 30, 2010.  Award notification will be made no later than January 1, 2011.

If my water system is awarded a fluoridation grant, what are we agreeing to?
SCDHEC shall execute a grant agreement with each grantee for the amount awarded.  The grantee shall agree to do the following:

  1. Arrange for the installation of a drinking water fluoridation system and provide all invoices for reimbursement by June 10, 2011.  To the greatest extent practicable, all equipment and products purchased should be American-made.  A fair share of purchases should be placed with small, minority- and women-owned business firms.
  2. Purchase the appropriate fluoride chemical, using funds other than those obtained from a fluoridation grant award.
  3. Operate and monitor the equipment for a minimum period of five years from the date fluoridation operation begins.
  4. Analyze finished water samples for fluoride content at least once each day.
  5. Submit one split sample each month to a SCDHEC-certified laboratory (independent of the water system laboratory) for analysis of fluoride content in finished drinking water.
  6. Report the daily fluoride sample results to the DHEC fluoride program coordinator at the end of each month.  Reports to be received by the tenth of the following month.
  7. Report the results of the fluoride content in the split sample of finished water to the DHEC fluoride program coordinator at the end of each month.  Reports to be received by the tenth of the following month.
  8. Notify the DHEC fluoride program coordinator within five business days if the operation of the fluoridation equipment is interrupted for more than 14 consecutive days.  The notification must include the reason(s) for the interruption and the anticipated duration.
  9. Agree to routine inspections of the fluoridation equipment and program by SCDHEC personnel, and to resolve any deficiencies noted during such inspections.

For more information

If you are interested in applying for a fluoridation grant, please contact the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Bureau of Water, Drinking Water Fluoridation Program.  The Fluoridation Coordinator may be reached by phone at (803) 898-4214, by mail at 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC  29201, or by email at .

South Carolina Regulation 61-58, State Primary Drinking Water Regulations, require that any public water system wishing to implement fluoridation submit plans to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for approval prior to construction.  For more information about design standards and permitting procedures, please contact:

Bureau of Water
Water Supply Permitting Section
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC  29201
(803) 898-4300


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