(a) The department may grant a variance or variances from primary drinking water standards to a public water system. Any variance granted pursuant to this subdivision shall conform to the requirements established under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended ( 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300g-4 ).
(b)(1) In addition to the authority provided in subdivision (a), at the request of any public water system, the department shall grant a variance from the primary drinking water standard adopted by the department for fluoride. A variance granted by the department pursuant to this subdivision shall prohibit fluoride levels in excess of 75 percent of the maximum contaminant level established in the national primary drinking water regulation adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for fluoride, or three milligrams per liter, whichever is higher, and shall be valid for a period of up to 30 years. The department shall review each variance granted pursuant to this section at least every five years. The variance may be withdrawn upon reasonable notice by the department if the department determines that the community served by the public water system no longer accepts the fluoride level authorized in the variance or the level of fluoride authorized by the variance poses an unreasonable risk to health. In no case may a variance be granted in excess of the United States Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level.
(2) The department shall grant a variance pursuant to paragraph (1) only if it determines, after conducting a public hearing in the community served by the public water system, that there is no substantial community opposition to the variance and the variance does not pose an unreasonable risk to health. The public water system shall provide written notification, approved by the department, to all customers which shall contain at least the following information:
(A) The fact that a variance has been requested.
(B) The date, time and location of the public hearing that will be conducted by the department.
(C) The level of fluoride that will be allowed by the requested variance and how this level compares to the maximum contaminant levels prescribed by the state primary drinking water standard, the federal national primary drinking water regulation, and the federal national secondary drinking water regulation.
(D) A discussion of the types of health and dental problems that may occur when the fluoride concentration exceeds the maximum contaminant levels prescribed by the state standard and the federal regulations.
(3) If, at any time after a variance has been granted pursuant to paragraph (1), substantial community concerns arise concerning the level of fluoride present in the water supplied by the public water system, the public water system shall notify the department, conduct a public hearing on the concerns expressed by the community, determine the fluoride level that is acceptable to the community, and apply to the department for an amendment to the variance which reflects that determination.
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