UNC Lead Water


    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) buildings are currently under testing for lead in their drinking water system. 

    Lead is a toxic metal that can be very harmful to the human body. Drinking water with lead can lead to kidney damage, brain damage, and it could interfere with the production of red blood cells. 

    UNC has been testing its building’s water supplies like faucets and water fountains for even trace amounts of lead. The US food and drug administration allows up to 5 parts per billion (ppb) in bottled water. 

    Any ppb above 5 can be harmful to the human body and the development of the body. 

    So far UNC has found 35 water fixtures in 8 buildings that contain lead. For people in those buildings, some of their water sources are affected but they have access to the other water fountains. 

    UNC is now offering free blood testing to ensure the safety of the students, and the school has split up its testing into 3 different stages. 

    When students that attend UNC were asked about the situation and how they felt about how UNC was handling the matter, they were not happy. 

    “I feel as though UNC could provide more information concerning the extent of the lead water situation sometimes it feels like we don’t have the full story and more resources for students who rely on water from the dorms that are affected by the lead issue,” said Abigail Mabe, former Leesville student, and sophomore at UNC. 

    “It is concerning that the amount of buildings containing water with high concentrations of lead is on the rise. As a student, I want to feel comfortable getting my water from any place on campus and not have to constantly worry about if my water has lead in it,” said Mabe.

    “However, UNC is sending us emails about their plan concerning treating older residence halls and about which buildings are affected. I mean, UNC is an older campus so this was inevitable at some point, and I think they are handling it as best they could,” said Mabe.

    “The lead in the water at UNC is concerning to an extent but not extremely concerning. UNC seems to be going through and checking all the fountains,” said James Rolf Blizzard, a former Leesville student and a sophomore at UNC.

    “I do wish that they would check the fountains a little bit quicker than they are right now…I don’t understand why it takes multiple weeks to go through and check water fountains that could potentially be harmful to the students,” said Blizzard.

    “People aren’t moving out of residence halls because of it but they are closing down lecture halls because of it,” said Blizzard.

    “I think a lot of the campus is not coerced about it because a lot of the campus doesn’t know about it because the information is not clearly posted anywhere, it’s kind of hidden,” said Blizzard. 

    “Overall they seem to be addressing the problem. The biggest question will be in 20 years from now whether UNC students want to sue UNC because UNC has not been maintaining its facilities the right way,” said Blizzard. 

    UNC is still currently underway for water testing, but students are getting anxious and tired of waiting for results to come in. Students want UNC to expedite the testing process to ensure they have safe drinking water.


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