After elevated lead levels were detected in Sac State drinking fountains, the university acted, testing and correcting problems with the fountains.
But don’t take their word for it. Each fountain is equipped with a QR code sticker linking to the most recent water-quality test data.
“One of our professors and his students measured water on campus, and found that some of them were considered above the EPA limit,” said Gary Rosenblum, chief risk officer at Sac State. “We responded by taking those out of service and replacing them and fixing them -- and testing everything on campus -- which leads us to this point now where we know all of our water fountains are below the EPA limit.”
Now anyone with a smart phone can scan the QR sticker on a Sac State drinking fountain to see how it's rated.
“90 percent of our fountains are below five parts per billion, and that’s one third of the limit, so that’s a pretty high number of our fountains,” Rosenblum said, after demonstrating the QR code scans at a fountain in Lassen Hall.
A light on the front of the new fountains shows when it’s time to change the filter and a counter tallies how many bottles have been saved by refilling.
The Lassen Hall fountain bottle tally stood at 8,830 Thursday afternoon.
“We’ve saved hundreds of thousands of bottles,” Rosenblum said. “It’s part of our sustainability program.”
The fountain appeared more popular for filling bottles than drinking from on Thursday. No students scanned the QR stickers during our visit, but the word possibly isn’t completely out on them yet, Rosenblum said, adding that all the water quality data is available on the Sac State website.
Lead tends to seep into water supplies through older pipes and fixtures, and the very young, from fetuses to children at the age of six, are most susceptible to harm from elevated levels.
The webpage and QR code are part of Sac State’s efforts at transparency.
“We recognize that our student population is interested in phone actuated ‘things’ and this plays into that,” Rosenblum said.