Across Georgia State University, the number of signs informing students and faculty not to use water in both Sparks Hall and One Park Place have largely gone unnoticed.
For the past few years, students walking through Sparks Hall have encountered a variety of construction projects and renovations that have improved the manner in which students have access to various services, including the creation of the One Stop Shop.
Since the beginning of the current academic year, the renovations have included the restrooms on the second floor of Sparks Hall, which have been closed off from usage. In addition, nearby water fountains have signs posted on them informing people not to use the water fountains.
The reason for the cut-off in water at Sparks Hall, as well as at One Park Place, is due to lead being found in the water – more specifically, the amount of lead present in the water is higher than the amount allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the EPA, exposure to high levels of lead could lead to a range of health problems, from mental health problems to seizures and, in some cases, death.
Officially, Georgia State University is informing students through the signs at Sparks Hall and One Park Place, which state: “Do not drink or consume water from this faucet. Tests of water from this faucet show lead (Pb) at or above the EPA action level. If you have questions, contact Facilities Management at (404) 651-4733.”
At press time, however, representatives of Georgia State University Facilities Management had yet to make a comment for this article.
Most students are unaware of the problem with the water. Among them is junior Andrea Wortel, who, when informed of the situation, said, “If we’re paying what we pay for school, we can at least get some water while I’m walking my self to Aderhold.”
On a more serious note, Wortel remarked, “It calls serious questions as to the sanitary practices of the university and should be addressed immediately as to not cause media coverage and jeopardize the credibility of the university altogether.”
Sophomore Alan Copenhaver concurs with Wortel, but is not surprised by the seemingly minimal way that Georgia state is informing the student body.
“I’m honestly not surprised, seeing how Georgia State updates things really fast,” Copenhaver commented sarcastically. “This is indicative of Georgia State’s response – unless we get in trouble for it, we’re not going to change it. Georgia State just likes to meet the bare minimum.”
Several departments have voiced concern about purchasing water coolers and bottles of water out of their budgets to be able to provide water during the time of the water outage.
“Given the time of tight budgeting, we should not be asked to purchase water out of our budgets when those funds can be used for other necessities,” one departmental official said, declining to allow the release of their name and title. “On that same tangent, we shouldn’t have to operate without safe running water for us to use and drink while we work.”