A recent campus wide email from Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management Scott Bitikofer revealed that a proactive water quality test found lead levels exceeding federal quality limits of 15 ppb (parts per billion) in the water in McKean Hall.
The tests were conducted after multiple instances of water impurity were discovered at college campuses across the country. In addition to college campuses, multiple elementary and high schools have been discovering elevated levels of lead in their drinking water.
In response, all residential halls and food preparation and distribution buildings are being tested by a water quality agency. Other buildings will be tested based on the results from these buildings.
Bitikofer stresses that while these levels of lead are high they are not a cause for panic. Facilities believes that this is a fixable problem and promises to keep the campus updated as the results from the water tests come in.
Students in McKean have been urged to use water from the hydration station in the main lobby, which has been identified as safe, for teeth brushing and drinking. Shower water is safe use.
Despite facilites optimism and measures to fix the problem, some McKean residents are still worried about their water safety.
“I was surprised,” said Grace Marshall ‘20. “It was odd to find out considering it seems like something that should have been tested over the summer before we got here. It also seems to me that not much has been done about the issue and I feel uninformed.”
It should be noted that matured adults are at very small risk of lead poisoning, and cases of adults getting lead poisoning from water are incredibly rare.
Facilities expects to have the water quality results by the end of the week and will determine a course of action for the campus based on the results.