Testing finds lead in Clark water supply

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Though within safe drinking water standards as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, trace amounts of lead have again been found in the water of Clark Hall.

Back in September, biology professor Deke Gundersen’s environmental science class conducted unofficial water quality tests and found small amounts of the neurotoxin. These tests were deemed “inconclusive” and the class was to perform the tests again in a scientific setting to confirm the results.

The class was divided into four groups; two tested unfiltered water and two tested water from the new filtered filling stations.

Three of the four groups found lead. The only group that did not looked at unfiltered water. The groups reported two readings of 0.003 mg/L and one of 0.008 mg/L. The EPA standard is 0.015 mg/L or below.

“It could be worth investigating further, since three of the four groups found readings,” said Gundersen.

Curiously enough, the only group that did not pick up lead was one that tested unfiltered water. In fact, there was very little difference in any of the results between filtered and unfiltered waters.

“I just assumed there would be a more significant difference between the filtered values and the unfiltered values,” said second-time junior Sarah Fillis. “I thought that was why Pacific had them installed.”

“If the filters aren’t doing anything, what’s the point of them?” asked senior Lauren Bruss.

The stations were installed to encourage a move away from disposable water bottles and toward sustainable reusable ones.

“It counts for water bottle reduction but the cost of filtration may not add up,” said sophomore Conner Cousins, considering the maintenance required for such systems.

The results seem to indicate that the filters aren’t altering the contents of the water at all.


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