Just how clean is our water?


Helen Heaton

Sophomore Sydney Anderson brings multiple water bottles to school becaue she does not trust the water that comes out of the school’s water fountains. She would rather carry around all those bottles than drink the school’s water.

Oracle Staff

An Oracle staff member once stopped at the water fountain by the Weight Room to refill her water bottle before class. When the Oracleite lifted her bottle to take a sip, she realized there was something wrong.
The water was yellow.
Various sources on the Internet suggest that this is perfectly harmless—merely a product of iron or manganese leaching into our water. Since the yellow water smelled strongly metallic, the Oracleite fully believe this to be the case.
Nevertheless, to test the water fountain’s safety, we bought water testing strips off Amazon and came to school early one morning to use them. The water wasn’t yellow at the time, but apparently there wasn’t any lead, chlorine or pesticides, which was encouraging. Still, we don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that the water we drink is at least…clear.
Yet while slightly horrifying, unclean drinking water continues a sad and consistent trend here. We’ve had problem after problem with the water throughout the year. The public water main broke, the plumbing in Sparta froze, the “water fountains” in Sparta ran out of water, actual water fountains in the school didn’t work, toilets didn’t flush and some faucets stopped working. The last three remain chronic problems.
Frankly, this seems absurd. Despite the outdated nature of our architecture (which is undergoing renovation, at least), we are not trapped in another century. In the United States, reliable plumbing and clean water should be a given. This is especially true because one can’t merely stop drinking water. Those who participate in sports in particular have to constantly rehydrate. Unless someone is inclined to bring four or five water bottles to school every day like sophomore Sydney Anderson, he or she is forced to use the school water fountains and hope that water is the only substance coming out of the spout.
The obvious solution, of course, would be for worried students to use the lovely filtered water fountain by the cafeteria designed for filling water bottles. However, the handy filter status light is often ominously red, suggesting that even this water isn’t exactly trustworthy.
For now, we must comfort ourselves in the hope that the renovations will bring new plumbing, new water fountains, and clean water. It’s a shame that current WS students will hardly get to benefit.