Ryan’s Rant: Water quality embarrasses school

By Ryan Abbott

     For the whole first week of school, I would use the bathroom after lunch, go to wash my hands and reluctantly decide to pass on the ritual of washing them. It wasn’t because I didn’t feel like it or that I didn’t have time, but rather because, if I would have washed them, they’d simply be dirtier. (Note my alternative was to cleanse them with the closest germ-x container.)

     Since the installment of the new tower, to my surprise, the school water had gotten even worse, instead of the usual yellowish tint, it had a lovely non-translucent brown shimmer as it sluggishly ran out of the faucet. I contemplated for a minute or two about whether I should put my hands in the water, but declined.

     The experience sparked my curiosity. How had water which was constantly under scrutiny the past few years gotten even worse? I didn’t think it was possible.

     Casually talking with AVID Director/English teacher, Mrs. Denholm, the topic popped into discussion. She said that her daily routine included running water out of the faucet in the English office for five to ten minutes until the brown had vanished, just so she could fill her water bottle. She, intrigued as I was, also wanted to find out more about this sludge.

     About a week went by without explanation as to why the water had gotten worse when abruptly it switched from brown back to its normal color. Was the water finally fixed?

     With this in mind, the idea of a blind taste test was created and there wasn’t anyone more perfect than the woman that was as interested as myself: Mrs. Denholm.

     I collected four samples of water from the following places: (1) The Fountain of Youth, a popular water fountain in the Ag hallway, (2) a regular school water fountain, (3) some school faucet water, (4) a pre-purchased bottled. I blinded folded Mrs. Denholm, and began the taste test.

     First she tried water from The Fountain of Youth, which was easily a visual favorite. She consumed it and rapidly gave it nine out of ten, saying, “It’s smooth like silk, cool, refreshing, placid, and fluid.”

     Next was the hallway water fountain, which oddly made the water look carbonated and had quite a few particles visible. After tasting it, her face turned sour. She gave it five out of ten. She said, “Not as nice, not as smooth, not as watery, and tastes like minerals.”

     The faucet water came next, which had the infamous yellow tint, and despite being in the refrigerator for the same amount of time as the rest, was room temperature. She drank it and gave it six out of ten, afterwards asking if we had obtained it from a pond. (Note: rating could be higher because she drinks this kind of water often.)

     Finally she tasted the bottled water and it expectedly won, saying it was 10 out of 10, while going back for seconds.

     The brown water has vanished, but obviously the problem of bad-tasting water is still present. Why don’t we deserve actual clean water for once? We should have five gallon water fountains like most other schools, so when its 90 degrees outside in a boiling classroom with no air conditioning, we can stay hydrated, if we don’t have money to spend on bottled water.

     It shocks me that change still hasn’t been made, and if it takes an article embarrassing the school for change, so be it. I don’t think there is one person in the school who doesn’t agree with me.

     Everyone here hates the school water. I don’t know if it’s a problem with piping or the actual water, but it needs to be addressed and fixed. Obviously, if good water is getting to the Ag hallway, then the piping up to the first and second floor is old and rusted.

     Still interested, I decided to run a pH test to see how school water differs from regular water. I dropped the first strip into bottled water and it read a solid six. Next was the hallway water, which I noted had particles and wasn’t as visually stimulating. It read an eight, way more alkaline compared to bottled. Finally, I tested the faucet water that was goldish brown and was hardly translucent. It came back as a nine.

     I don’t know if anything is being done or ever will be, but for now in this high school’s circumstances, President Obama’s slogan would certainly fit in: Change.