Campus, News

Closed drinking fountains at CSULB continue to raise questions

After multiple rounds of testing since early November, the university has yet to release a clear update on the state of water at Cal State Long Beach.

On Nov. 8, the drinking fountains in the McIntosh Humanities building were confirmed to have tested positive for lead. A day before, water fountains on campus were shut down and bound with tape. According to Mary Stephens, vice president of administration and finance, this closure was due to the water quality being below Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Terri Carbaugh, vice president of public affairs, said the tests are still ongoing and the final results will not be available for several weeks due to diligent water testing in all buildings constructed after 1980.

“We’re testing the water, retesting [and] redoing [tests] and double-checking — and we’ll release all that information in a few weeks,” Carbaugh said.

The water, currently being tested by Fullerton-based company Titan Environmental, was deemed unsafe to drink after a CHEM 100 class found lead in the fountains by the McIntosh building.

All of the buildings put up after 1980 are being tested for lead. Buildings constructed before that time will have those water fountains replaced altogether, according to Carbaugh. The cost of this replacement is not known at this time.

Despite the university saying they are continuously conducting tests, many faculty and students feel out of the loop. Mathematics professor Dimos Arsenidis didn’t expect the water to be contaminated.

“I just heard about [the water situation] and it’s surprising,” Arsenidis said. “I feel like we should be more informed.”

For some students, the bags and blue tape blocking fountains were all they needed to deter them. Caterina Ariza, senior international studies major, said she didn’t like the taste of the water right before the fountains were tested.

“I just remember walking around campus and seeing all the water fountains bagged up,” Ariza said. “Before that happened I used to use the fountains to refill my water and it tasted really funky, it was the ones by the liberal arts building. You know, you have your water bottle, you’re trying to save money, save the planet and then you’re drinking this crappy water, like ugh, I shouldn’t drink that water.”

Emily Willis, a senior liberal studies major, had a similar experience with the water fountains.

“I tried to use [the water fountain] before Thanksgiving break because I ran out of water,” Willis said. “I was nervous about whether I should drink it or not. The water tasted gross.”

Follow the Daily 49er for updates on this developing story.

Miranda Andrade-Ceja, Angel Grady and Alba Mejia contributed to this article.

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