Got Filters?

Red Lights on Fountains Don’t Mean Empty, They Mean Non-Existant


Christina Tran

Rusted water flows from a dressing room sink.

Patrick Hawkins, Opinion and Lifestyle Editor

How often during the week do students and faculty fill a water bottle at one of the numerous fountains around the school? Has there ever been worry about the hard, red light at the top of the machines filling each bottle? These are the lights that show the level of how effective the water filters are, and when a new one needs to be put in. But red tends to be a correspondent of “not good” and “stop completely,” so why has no one ever questioned the water going into their bottles, or hesitated to place them under the spigots?

The issue isn’t about the filters in each fountain not being replaced, it’s about how there weren’t any filters there to begin with. When Jordan School District came into the school to install the water fountains, filters were not included. “It caused the district a lot of extra work, so they just got rid of them. They don’t even install them anymore,” said Brady Bartholomew, the head of the Copper Hills janitorial staff. Despite the fact that there is no filtered water, Bartholomew reassures us that the water is perfectly safe to drink. “If you’re ever really concerned about it, take a water sample and take it down to the Board of Health and they’ll check it for you.” The singular and minute difference separating the water students are offered from the faucets in their homes, and the water streaming out of the fountains here at Copper Hills, is the often-vibrant, orange hue.

During the construction of the high school, galvanized pipes were used to run water throughout our halls and restrooms. This was not a problem the first twelve years of the school’s existence. About ten years ago however, when the now-rusted pipes started spewing orange, opaque water, the choice for galvanized pipes was regrettable. To fix this issue the school, over a period of two summers, decided to replace the tainted pipes with longer-lasting and unrustable plumbing. “They came through and replaced as much galvanized pipe as they could, with copper, but they couldn’t get it all,” said Bartholomew. Though the water in the bottles of students and staff may sometimes carry a different hue, the dangers of drinking said water is no different than the risks of drinking tap water from the faucets in their own homes.

The concerns for the potability of the fountain water have always been a concern for the populous of Copper Hills, faculty included. Only recently has the issue been dug up again when the lights of the filters slowly faded from a pleasant and reassuring green, to a very dull and symbolically fateful red. What will happen to the current concern for the school’s drinking fountains? Will it remain, or will it slowly rust away like the sad, ever-present galvanized pipes? It has recently come to The Growl’s attention that after investigating this current dilemma with the filters, the District recently began replacing some of them. However, it is not clear which or how many filters will actually be installed; but according to Bartholomew, the school simply doesn’t have the funds for replacing all of them.