According to Joedon Hughes, coordinator of safety, security and risk management, students and a professor were conducting water samples for a lab and found lead Nov. 12, 2019. They reported it immediately.
Mills said they had to test the water multiple times. A company was then called in to check all the water. They told him to shut off the water at the beginning of February. As of Feb. 18, there was one fountain in every building that was still turned on for student use.
Additional fountains have since been turned back on; however, those on campus are divided on whether or not the water is safe to drink.
Veronica Chacon, a liberal studies with emphasis with small business major, thinks the water is safe to drink.
“I believe, if they have filters, it’s safe,” Chacon said. “I would think the water would be safe, because I don’t know, I guess I don’t question it. But I drink it all the time, it doesn’t seem different.”
Students, faculty and staff have had a hard time finding water to drink on campus. The vending machines ran out of bottled water after just a few days of the fountains being turned off.
Many bring their own water bottles to refill while they are on campus. This has caused students to decrease their intake of water throughout the day.
“The College is currently working with private and public water quality firms to perform additional testing of all campus water fountains and other points of use,” Lashley provided in the email.
Filters have been added to most of the fountains and are now safe to use. According to Mills, there are five fountains that were set to be replaced the first week of March.
“There are two in the Community Learning Center in the middle of the building, two in the STEM Lab and one in the Administration Building,” Mills said. Water in the bathrooms also contains traces of lead. According to the email, the water was safe for hand washing and lab activities, but should not be consumed.
According to the EPA, students and faculty can safely wash their hands because human skin does not absorb lead the same way it can absorb chlorine.