You turn the faucet on in your kitchen and in seconds you can smell the chlorine. Or perhaps the water fills your glass without making you feel like you’re at Spaulding Gymnasium swimming pool, but somehow has a metallic-y taste to it. This scenario is quite familiar to many off-campus and on-campus students.
Whether or not your water smells like chlorine or has a metallic taste to it depends on where you live in Keene. And although officials from the Keene Water Treatment Plant have assured us that the water in Keene is safe to drink, we still wonder, ‘what’s with that taste and smell?’
The water that runs to Keene homes is nestled in a reservoir high up on Roxbury St. in Keene. Since surface water naturally breeds bacteria, chlorine is introduced to the water to make it clean enough for drinking.
But while the water waits to be poured into your glass, more bacteria has the potential to grow in the copper pipes underground. Because of this, Associate Public Works Director Donna Hanscom said more chlorine is added to the water at the plant to make sure the water is safe by the time it reaches your sink.
One side effect of this precaution is that the more the water stays in the system before someone drinks it, the more likely it is to taste a little metallic-y or smell like chlorine. Many off-campus students choose to buy portable water filters that can eliminate these displeasing side effects without too much cost. But why can’t this task be accomplished before it reaches Keene homes, and why didn’t this problem occur say, in the summer?
Since the Water Treatment Plant has received so many complaints about Keene water quality in the last four weeks, the Keene plant has sent off water samples to be tested since the public works team is stumped as to why the water has a more metallic-y taste or chlorine smell than it normally would from sitting in the reservoir.
But remember this: Hanscom and her associates regularly test Keene water 70 times a month, and currently the water is safe to drink. We can continue to complain about the smell or taste of our water, or we can do something about it. On-campus students have the option to fill up their cup or water bottle at several filtered-water fountains that can be found in the Zorn Dining Commons, the Spaulding Gymnasium, the Young Student Center, and several residential houses.
Off-campus students can buy hand-held water filters, self-filtering water bottles, or fill up on campus. Either way, there are ways to get the cleanest water in town without having to only drink water that smells like a pool.