The Rocket staff editorial sensationalizes water treatment issue

Published by adviser, Author: Joe Szalinski - Contributor, Date: March 17, 2016
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I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers, or make any unnecessary enemies by writing this, but I was taken aback when I saw the reaction to the article about how “unsafe” our drinking water is. Clearly our water isn’t the best, as evidenced by the general consensus of the student body, but it’s not that bad. Come on now.

The first issue I want to address is the “disinfectant” chemicals found in the water. True, it is disgusting to think that chemicals are in what we drink, but most of the drinks we consume are laden with chemicals, and are actually just complex chemicals themselves. Any tap water, or water from a water treatment plant, is going to be treated with chemicals. No one just drinks normal water, it’s dirty. Not even bottled water that claims it’s 100 percent natural, lives up to such claims. They still buy their water from water authorities, and even retreat it themselves.

It seems scary to say (or write), but disinfectant byproducts, THHM and HAAC, are inevitable parts of water treatment. Many governments across the globe have acknowledged this and have set limits, however, preventing them from being present is absolutely impossible. It’s a reaction we get when we treat chlorine with water. The swimming pool is the greatest culprit of them all. The manageable levels we deal with are not necessarily “healthy,” but they’re not worst thing we can introduce to ourselves through our mouths and/or skin. By the time we’re all older, and more prone to diseases and ailments, it’ll be impossible to determine what gave us the cancer that’s going to kill us. So many things are cancer-causing that it is to be expected that everything will eventually give us cancer.

People lack an understanding of chemistry, in that they think that chemicals instantly spell death. Salt is made from two dangerous chemicals, but when they’re combined, they produce something delicious and useful; same goes for certain chemicals and water. If it really did just kill or seriously hurt anyone who drank it, the government wouldn’t allow that to be legal. We all need to drink water in order to survive.

However, what I found to be the most despicable part of the article was the comparison made between Slippery Rock and Flint, Michigan. True, it is best to fix any water/sewage problems that may be apparent, but our problems of having unpleasant water is not on par with the abysmal excuse for water they have, and many other parts of the country have, that causes death and neurological problems, among other things.

Yes, we don’t have the greatest water, but I drink from the tap all of the time, and I’m still fine. Perhaps we can fix our situation, to the best of our ability, but also keep in mind how truly horribly other people have it. It’s also best to remember; at least we’re lucky enough to have water to drink, scarcity is another major issue we all will soon face.

Joe Szalinski

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