Contaminationof Drinking Water at Portland State University
Insome parts of the globe, societies are currently in conflict with oneanother due to the issue of water scarcity. Historical literaturesupports this fact comprehensively such that, ancient civilizationsand societies thrived or became lost forever depending on whetherthey had sufficient and well managed water resources. For instance,ancient Egypt thrived for eons simply because the Nile offered itspopulation with a consistent supply of water allowing for stabilityand progressive human development. Through her dedication, EmmaPrichard, a PSU Environmental Sciences student took up a leadershiprole and ascertained whether the drinking water availed at theinstitution met state, local and federal requirements. Thus, her workproffers a vivid case study of community and profound leadership thatpeople should endeavor to hold.
Wateris critical for all living beings and more so, for their progressivedevelopment. This is the main reason why the Environmental ProtectionAgency and other state, local as well as federal institutions workstowards ensuring water distributed for human consumption meets setstandards. PSU (Portland State University) is a nonprofit, publicuniversity located in Oregon, USA. Initially, reports of poordrinking water emerged from the University, especially from CramerHall, which stands between Broadway, SW Park, Mill, and Montgomery.Numerous places also reported the problem especially across the city,where several schools reported the presence of contaminated water. In2014, Emma Claire Prichard, a proactive student studying at PortlandState University’s School of Environmental Sciences took to make ananalysis of the safety of the institution’s drinking water in oneof its most ancient buildings. Her actions were indeed extraordinaryas she presented this case through her University Thesis Paper andcompelling the institution’s administration to take correctiveaction to arrest any arising instances of negative publicity. Heractions contributed significantly to resolving the water problem forboth the university and the city.
Humandevelopment initiatives since the late 19thCentury have led to significant adverse impacts on the environment(Luttwak, 2016). As such, pollution of natural resources such as thesoil, water bodies and air present unfavorable outcomes for humanpopulations. As provided before in this paper, the growth of newhuman civilization was founded on the availability of water fit foragriculture and more so, human consumption. The Roman Empireintroduced water distribution systems to hydrate its administrationcenters more than 20 centuries ago (Luttwak, 2016). Wooden waterdistribution systems were used up until the 1950’s when cities likePortland opted to replace previous systems with metal pipes (Luttwak,2016). Prichard’s thesis was based on the water points in PSU’soldest structure, Cramer Hall, constructed in 1955. The Institutionis dependent on the local municipality’s water system. Given thatCramer Hall was constructed at a time when Portland municipality wasinstalling metal water pipes supports the fact that some of thewatering points may have contaminated water. The use of water pipesin distributing the water, may have affected the quality of the waterbecause of corrosion. The efforts of the young environmental studiesleader were buoyed by the fact that most students had opted to spendmore on bottle water implying that there were underlying problemswith the water in Cramer Hall.
Inher thesis, Prichard postulated that the water system serving CramerHall was unfit for human consumption because the iron or galvanizedpipes had deteriorated significantly since the fifties. As such,trace metals from the pipes contaminated the water causing it tomanifest an unfavorable taste compelling students and other personnelto favor water coolers and bottled waters. Conclusively, Prichard’sproactive actions worked to oblige the institution’s leadership toset up signs and filters in watering points where water contaminationwas found to exceed set EPA standards. The institution went furtherto ascertain whether all other points met the mandated trace metalcontamination standards. One can therefore opine that as a buddingprofessional and transformational leader, Prichard’s actions servedto avert far more damaging outcomes for the institution. As such, heractions motivated the institutions leadership to be more mindful ofthe health of its student as well as staff populations.
Luttwak,E. N. (2016). TheGrand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to theThird.JHU Press.