It’s something people consume on a daily basis. An essential part of any working ecosystem, life would not survive without it. Water plays a vital role in their lives.
On campus we have many options to fill our water fix. There are bottles for sale all over the Las Positas campus. Or, if you like free water, there are fountains. Attached to certain ones, there are eco friendly water bottle refill stations.
The filtered refill stations were installed as part of a green initiative on campus. The same bond money that was used to construct the new building paid for the new additions to the water fountains.
“Before the stations were installed, everybody was drinking out of the plastic bottles,” said LPC chemistry professor Mike Ansell. “Some of the bottles ended up in the recycling, but most ended up in the trash. They were piled up and more were thrown on the top of the pile.”
Bottled water may not be the best thing to drink. Zone 7, the local water agency, said on their website that the standards they are held to for local drinking water are much more stringent than those for bottled water.
“The Environmental Protection Agency strictly regulates all public water under the Safe Drinking Water Act, while the Food and Drug Administration oversees the bottled water industry with less stringent regulations. In many cases, bottled water is actually filtered tap water.”
These stations are filtered. They don’t refill the bottles with purified water, but with double filtered water.
Purified water, unlike filtered, has little to no flavor. With every impurity taken out, the water is completely cleansed of anything that isn’t hydrogen and oxygen.
The water from the filter station has a tiny bit of flavor as compared to that of purified water. It is considered hard, which means
it still has minerals that weren’t taken out by the system.
Starting off at the water treatment facilities for Zone 7, the local water district, the water is filtered to remove impurities. Then, when it comes through the refill station, it goes through an activated carbon system.
“The activated carbon filters out organics,” said Ansell, “if there are things like pesticides and all the non-polar items.”
In addition, there is an additional ion exchange filter, which helps take out minerals like iron and copper that cause the water
to have a bitter flavor. In addition to catching those minerals, if there is any mercury or lead that got through the system, it would catch those as well.
The water still has calcium and magnesium, but Ansell says that’s a good thing.
“The hardness comes from calcium and magnesium, and people need more of that,” said Ansell. “People seem to think it tastes better.”
With almost 80,000 bottles saved from using the refillable station, it would seem the students and faculty agree.