Saturday, April 7, 2012

Just Tap It! Sustainability at Muhlenberg College

Just Tap It is an initiative to greatly reduce the amount of bottled water consumed on campus. As a result of EnAcT’s efforts, water bottle purchases on campus dropped by 95%.

EnAcT’s efforts resulted in a resolution passed by an overwhelming majority of Student Government. The resolution excludes bottled water from the student meal plan but allows a person to purchase the water using cash, credit, or dining or flex dollars. 

Furthermore, new filtered water stations have been installed all over campus. In support of this initiative, President Helm, in conjunction with other departments funded the purchase of reusable aluminum water bottles for the freshman class.

Where can you conveniently fill your water bottle?
- Water fountains with easy fill spouts that accommodate large water bottles and provide fresh, filtered water currently can be found in Seegers and the Life Sports Center (new locations coming soon!)
- At your residence (use a faucet or pitcher filter if desired)
cost of bottled water
Did you know?
-100,000 cars could be fueled with the amount of oil consumed manufacturing water bottles sold annually in the US

-An average US citizen spends over $400 per year on bottled water

-80-90% of the 28,000,000,000 plastic water bottles used each year are not recycled

-About 1,500 water bottles enter the garbage stream each second!

-Imagine what else could be done with the $100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion dollars) spent each year on bottled water by consumers!

bottle litter

Regulations on tap water vs.bottled water
The EPA regulates tap water, requires frequent testing of its safety, and requires that consumers be informed of any violations. Bottled water is regulated by the FDA under the rules for interstate commerce, so the regulations apply only when water is shipped between states, not when it is packaged and sold within the same state.

Additionally, the FDA does not require agency or consumer notification of violations. In fact, between 1990 and 2007, bottlers pulled products from stores 100 times due to contamination with mold, benzene, coliform, microbes, or other contaminants, but did not make the recall public or attempt to recover contaminated packages already sold.

FDA Requirements for Bottle Water EPA Requirements for Tap Water

Bacterial Testing

Once per week
Trace amounts of E. coli and fecal coliform allowed (up to 9.2 coliform organisms in 100ml of bottled water)

100 or more times per month
No E. coli or coliform allowed

Viral Testing

No testing required

Tested for cryptosporidium and giardia

Asbestos and Phthalates

No testing required and no limits set

Tested 4 times per year (once per quarter)
Limits enforced

Other synthetic organic chemicals

Tested once per year

Tested 4 times per year (once per quarter)


Maximum limit of 5ppm

 Maximum limit of 15 ppm

Testing requirements

No requirement to use a certified lab

No requirement to notify consumer or
any state or federal agency of violations

Tests must be completed by a certified lab

 Violations must be reported to state, EPA, and consumers

Just tap it! Use refillable water bottles to stay hydrated through the day. Fill up at home or at water fountains located throughout campus.

It's great to see such activism by the students@Muhlenberg College

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