Water clear of contaminants under updated system
Most students will recall the quarterly notifications that were sent out over email regarding the University’s drinking water quality. The notifications, for those less familiar, were first sent out in 2015 and reported that the trihalomethane (TTHM) levels in the water had exceeded the EPA’s standards for drinking water.
The reports conveyed to students that the matter was not of any immediate concern, but that didn’t stop students from expressing concern over the contradictory emphasis on the water’s safety. The emails, while indicating the relative safety of campus drinking water, urged those who are pregnant and elderly to be wary of health risks.
The university administration enacted a plan to address the issue by switching from their treatment system to the College Utilities Corporation’s (CUC) treated drinking water. As of May 30, 2017 there has been no new reports sent out regarding the drinking water.
However, despite no recent email updates regarding the water on campus, students have still expressed displeasure with the situation. Many students don’t know whether the water is clean or if there is even any reduction in contaminants.
“Based on the emails, it doesn’t seem that it’s getting any better water quality-wise,” said Diego Madrid, a senior fisheries student.
Another student, Alyeska Daniels, simply stated “no” when asked if she felt that the water quality was getting better.
The notifications, while prompt to inform students of the containment levels, have failed to alert students of any changes to these levels.
“We stopped sending out the notices because we were in compliance with regulations,” Associate Vice Chancellor Scott Bell said. “The notices before were necessary because we exceeded trihalomethane levels based on the average of four quarterly readings.”
Bell went on to say that as of now both quarterly samples and the rolling average came below their 0.080 mg/L limit for TTHM levels, making the water clear of contaminants. So while the University isn’t obligated to send out any official notices, it is permitted to based on their compliance with EPA standards.
The reasoning Bell gave for not sending out an email regarding the changes to the full campus was that he felt “it undermines credibility.” To gain full confidence in the stability of the TTHM levels, Bell said he wants to wait another year for the annual average reading before sending out a report to students.
“The last thing I want to do is say, ‘Hey, everything’s great,’ and then it’s not,” said Bell. While there is no notice from Facility Services as of right now, it should be known to all students and faculty on campus that the drinking water is clear of all contaminants.
As for other potential quality issues in the future, Bell said, “Nothing is trending or indicating a radical increase in contaminants.”