Joe Knows: Will new fountains quench thirst for change?


Joe Pohoryles

Dear Joe,

I’ve been hearing all this talk about lead in the water fountains, and I’m concerned, to say the least. I use the water fountains as much as anyone, and I don’t want to be constantly slurping down lead-laced water and mess up my health. I’m a member of the SGA, so I want to fight this issue. What should we as an organization do to solve the lead problems?


I hear your concerns, Thirsty, and I’m with you. Common Sense published an article last issue regarding the lead levels in MCPS water fountains, and it was really eye-opening. Luckily, your organization has already found a solution: use a portion of the money raised from homecoming to buy new water fountains.

The SGA puts hours of hard work and effort into producing homecoming for the entire school, which is largely taken for granted by students here. Being such a big event, it naturally generates considerable funds, funds that are partially intended for bettering the school. It’s undeniable that the collective heart of the SGA is in the right place, but as for the effectiveness of the plan of action – replace the water fountains – well… it is indisputably the best solution possible.

Thanks to some fancy new water fountains, our water will be clean as a whistle. Never mind that the lead concentrations leach into the water from the plumbing pipes – not the physical fountains – as explained by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Bethesda Magazine report about the elevated lead levels in the MCPS water fountains.
These bottle-filler water fountains are cooler! They’ll fill our water bottles without the unbearable hassle of tilting the opening all the way to the nozzle. Talk about efficiency. What does the EPA know about lead anyway?

There’s nothing more to be done. Installing these more aesthetically-pleasing water fountains is the most necessary change this school has seen in years. It’s certainly worth using the money to pay for each new fountain and the price of installation.

These cleaner water fountains will stand the test of time, and certainly won’t eventually get just as dirty as the ones we have now.

Despite all of this, you may have encountered students who are opposed to this life-saving idea (and why on Earth would they be?), but you know as well as I do that the

SGA has limited options when it comes to spending this money, as administration holds a great deal of power in spending decisions.
What else were you going to spend the homecoming money on? Higher-quality entertainment? That wouldn’t be possible. The music played at the dance included all of the hits students are listening to these days, such as Gangnam Style and Dragostea Din Tei.

What about putting it toward cleaning or replacing the plumbing that the lead issue actually stems from? That would be ridiculous. You wouldn’t be able to see the new pipes, so it would be as if nothing changed. Installing new filterless water fountains is the only effective solution to the lead problem, so thank you, Thirsty. It’s refreshing to know our money is being put toward the right project.