The Peak’s Sink-y Situation

If you’ve been in the student bathrooms lately, odds are you’ve noticed sinks stuck running. You may only notice it in passing, too busy rushing to class before the bell rings or taking a momentary break from the monotony of note taking, but it’s actually a larger issue than you’d think. Green Level High—our home away from home—at only two years after construction is already experiencing plumbing and significant water wastage issues.

Every twenty seconds a sink runs at full strength, it wastes a quarter of a gallon; at a slow drip, it takes about a minute and a half to do the same. Some sinks shut off after a few minutes, while others seemingly run for an entire class period. The school has a total of twenty four student bathrooms, and in one period alone, twelve sinks were found running. If those sinks were at only a light stream for five minutes, an extra six gallons would go down the drain. Junior John Craven commented, “It’s pretty bad if you think about it. Half the sinks are broken. Every time I go to the bathroom, at least two sinks are stuck on. There’s a lot of bathrooms in this school, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a lot more water than we actually use to wash our hands.”

Given that the school was built with sustainable design features, such as large windows to save heating costs, and reusable water bottle filling fountains, it’s surprising to some that the longevity of the automatic sink mechanisms were not taken into account. Junior Jillian Brannock explained, “I think the fact that they have water fountain things to stop wasting plastic is hypocritical if they’re wasting that much water. Like, go ahead and focus on pollution, but also focus on how much water you’re wasting. The same rules that we have for the students should also be relevant for the school, like if we’re really staying  peak, we should fix this.”

Environmental repercussion aside, this also places a big financial burden on the school if this issue continues throughout the year. With the possibility of around twenty four gallons wasted per school day, over the course of the 180 planned instructional days this year, it would equal an astronomical 4,320 gallons. That’s the equivalent to roughly 108 baths, or enough water to sustain one person for 2,160 days. Kerry Piper, the environmental club sponsor at Apex High, stated, “I feel like it’s not only a waste of water, but it’s also a waste of money for the school.”

There’s nothing peak about letting resources, both financial and environmental, circle the drain. However, it’s hard to say if the cost of fixing the sinks would be more expensive than letting the problem continue. As anyone who has ever been to or worked for a public school knows, funding is hard to come by. Though something as simple as faulty sinks may seem minor, the long term costs would be wise to take into account. The newer campus is much more environmentally conscious than the old Apex, and that shouldn’t be forgotten. However, if we’re truly planning on leveling up this year, our positive impact should extend to more than just our grades, sports, and student conduct.

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