Written by: Enzo Hsu
Edited by: Joey Lin
Apr. 27, 2021
Everyday, we see several students lining up at the fountains to acquire their daily supply of water. Everyday, we know a substantial amount of people use the school bathroom. Everyday, a big amount of school water is consumed. But it isn’t everyday that the Environmental Science class decided to test out the pH value of the school water. Now, what they found was a common issue that exists in school worldwide: water quality. Even though in this region most of the buildings have modern water supplying systems from the same system, the quality of the water itself can depend on a variety of factors other than the source.
First off, let’s understand the science behind what makes water acidic as we define it. There are multiple ways to define whether a substance is acidic or basic, (Arrhenius, Lewis, etc...) but the most accurate and common way we refer to it is by whether hydrogen ions or hydroxide ions take up more of the substance. So in this case, acidic water has a higher proportion of hydrogen ions than hydroxide ones.
That said, the result of school water being
acidic most likely implies that even beyond filtering, an unbalanced amount of hydrogen ions still reside in the water that school students and faculty use daily.
Under the guidance of the teacher, we then got to know what risks this issue poses to us. Often we see that schools contain high levels of lead in their water, which is a danger to the health of those who consume it. Here at Zhubei, a considerable amount of underground pipes and tubes are composed of lead, and the PAS campus would be among those buildings that may have this possibility. An acidic supply of water indicates that the water may be corrosive to some extent, which certainly shreds parts of the inner pipes bit by bit on its way from the filtration systems to the fountains. Large quantities of lead could settle and dissolve into the water supply, and the process is undetectable as you won’t be able to see the lead when it’s dissolved. That is a potential safety concern to PAS, as it would be for any other place. While the most thorough way to address this issue would be contacting the technicians to inspect the pipes and replace those in need of it, awareness on the part of us students is also imperative, so we don’t use tap water for anything other than what it’s meant for.