Health concerns from water jugs?

For the past three months, Lincoln students and staff have received drinking water from a set of water jugs placed around the school. Lincoln officials expect this system to continue indefinitely.

The water jugs were placed in Lincoln’s hallways at the beginning of the school year to provide clean drinking water for students and staff, as a result of lead contamination found in pipes across the district.

“We all regret that the water in the water fountains has not been restored for safe use,” says Principal Peyton Chapman. “We are also concerned about the ongoing cost to PPS and the impact on the environment.”

Business manager Jill Ross adds that the water jugs are “not an ideal way to get water,” but “[are] the only solution.”

While the replacement system may not be ideal, Chapman believes that “the water jug system has provided clean, safe water for students, staff and visitors.”

On the whole, students agree with Chapman.

Lincoln sophomore Regen Li says “it’s been working pretty well” and he doesn’t have any problems with it.

Juniors Spencer Page and Max Winthrop agree, saying “it works pretty good” and the water jugs are “pretty efficient.”

While the water jug system seems to be running smoothly, sophomore Rosie Crawford wondered whether an illness she suffered earlier this year was from the water jugs. She has since learned that this is very unlikely.

“There’s not any way for people to get their hands in [the water jugs], so it’s designed to make it unlikely for diseases to  be spread through it,” says Tri-County Health officer, Dr. Paul Lewis. He continued that “nothing’s impossible” and “if someone deliberately put something on the outlet then it could happen.”

Junior Max Winthrop said he knows of a student who once added flavoring to a water jug but School Nurse Mary Johnson wasn’t concerned that students would add contaminants to the water jugs. “I have higher expectations for students than that,” she said.

However, PPS sent a notice to all staff on Dec. 7 that students are not allowed to replace empty water jugs, possibly out of fears of tampering.

Despite many students and staff agreeing on the effectiveness of the water jugs, they are not meant to be a permanent solution.

While there is no date set in stone to renovate the school’s pipes, Chapman says she has heard rumors that the PPS Facilities Department is formulating a plan “to fix the water problem before schools are rebuilt.”

Lincoln could be rebuilt sometime in the next few years if a bond measure passes this coming May.