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Should I get my University's water tested?

  1. Jul 1, 2013 #1
    I go to my University's library everyday and the water in that building is not pleasing. It has a brown/yellow colour to it and tastes funny. I can't avoid using the fountains because my only other option is to carry like 10 bottles of water with me to the library everyday.

    What is the cheapest way to check if water is not harmful?

    My Chemistry Professor says to avoid drinking water from Toronto since the pipes are old and they leak lead into the water. To me, it sounds like a conspiracy theory since the government would surely come under fire if it were true, right?

    What if it turns out the water is harmful? Should I keep my mouth shut (since the University might threaten to kick me out)? Or should I make an announcement? It seems like a lose-lose situation to me.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2013 #2


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    It's highly unlikely the university will kick you out for asking about water.

    If you take water out of pipes that have high flow, the water might taste better. Check water quality around campus.

    Contact the school administration to find out who is in charge of water supply. Chances are very good they know what causes the water to be yellow. Lots of things in water can make it look and taste funny, but it can still be OK to drink.
  4. Jul 3, 2013 #3
    Do you really drink 10 bottles of water while in the library?
  5. Jul 3, 2013 #4


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    Yeah just write a polite inquiry. Another way to think about it, every time you get thirsty it is time to take a break and take a relaxing walk to a safe water source :D
  6. Jul 4, 2013 #5


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    Has the Toronto Water Authority ( is that the name ) issued an alert to algae from Lake Ontario causing this problem, but that should affect the whole of the city water supply, and not just the library.

    The turbidity is something else, and should not be there.

    Is the color of the water in the bathroom sinks and toilets the same yellow/ brown color?

    Perhaps a water line has a crack and some gunk is entering into the sytem.
    If the administration has not even received a complaint or inquiry, and is clueless to the situation if recent.

    He is half right-half wrong. There are old pipes in Toronto and some of the older houses could have lead pipes. If you do a search you can find out when a law was passed banning the usage of lead pipes within the city limits. It might even be an Ontario law.
  7. Jul 4, 2013 #6

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    I think Micromass has a good question - do you really drink 10 bottles at a time? If not, I'd just bring one in. Furthermore, if the water is really substandard, the most likely immediate outcome will be to shut off the fountains.
  8. Jul 5, 2013 #7


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  9. Jul 5, 2013 #8


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  10. Jul 6, 2013 #9
    That's weird. I'm in UofT and there are vending machines that sell bottled water in the physics building. Which library do you go to?

    I never had any problems anywhere in Toronto regarding drinking water.
  11. Jul 7, 2013 #10
    Do you go to UofT by any chance because I have never seen yellow or brownish water in any of the libraries at the University of Toronto. Also plastic bottles are bad for the environment :mad:.

    Also, if you are, what chemistry professor is spouting lies about our beautiful water.
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