Smith College Goes Green with Tap Water

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Andi Bryant
Smith College has handed out 2500 reusable, crack resistant plastic water containers to students, and installed an eight-tap filtered water system in the campus dining hall; just one more college to put down bottled drinking water for tap water.
Smith College in Northampton, MA is one of a handful of colleges hopping on board the 'go green' ride. They've put down bottled water and tapped into the municipal water supply.
Over the summer, the College's Chapin House dining hall underwent renovations, and exchanged the one available tap into the municipal water supply for an eight-headed filtered tap system. Then, the school handed out 2500 reusable water containers to students during fall registration.
The 16 ounce reusable containers are made of a crack resistant plastic, and come with a carabiner to attach to backpacks. A white strip down the side of the container allows student's to write their name on the bottle, and the words 'I must recycle' are etched in, as well as the College name.
According to Kathleen Zieja, director of dining services at the college, recent research has shown that it takes greater than 1.5 million barrels of oil each year to make the plastic bottles that hold commercially sold bottled water. That's enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars annually.
Before the municipal tap system was implemented, Smith was distributing 2500 bottles of drinking water a week. Bottled water consumers are paying an estimated 4000 times the cost of tap water for drinking water, which in some cases, is coming from municipal water supplies anyway.
Northampton, typically under scrutiny for its tap water's inability to meet state standards, assures the public that the water is safe to drink. The city has been constructing a $22 million water filtration plant which will be operational in October.