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  April 5, 2004

Water Samples Show Changes In pH Levels

Recent tests of water samples from the Storrs campus and the Depot campus points of entry into the distribution systems, and the Storrs campus distribution system, routinely collected by the University's Department of Environmental Health and Safety and analyzed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health laboratory, indicated that some samples collected during the month of January did not fall within the state drinking water pH range of 7.0 to 10.0.

On a scale, pH measurements range from 0 (very acid) to 14 (very alkaline). Three of 10 water samples collected from various buildings on the Storrs Campus distribution system and tested for pH measured between 6.5 and 6.9.

The measured pH values may indicate a problem with the pH metering or monitoring equipment.

The Connecticut public health code requires that the University notify its users of these findings. At this time, no additional precautions by customers and residents are necessary, and the water remains safe for drinking and all other uses, says Frank Labato, director of environmental health and safety.

Water with a low pH may be acidic, soft, or corrosive, and may leach metals, such as iron, manganese, copper, lead, and zinc from piping and plumbing fixtures, which can cause staining. A low pH may affect the aesthetic quality of the water by imparting a metallic taste and a red or blue-green color to the water. A high pH could indicate that the water is hard. Aesthetic problems associated with a high pH may include the formation of scale or precipitate on piping, fixtures, dishes, and utensils. And a high pH may impart a slippery feel or alkali taste to the water.

If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 860.486.3613, or by mail at 3102 Horsebarn Hill Road, Unit 4097, Storrs, CT 06269-4097.