Did We Find The Best Drinking Fountain?
Madison Olsen, Managing Editor
We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of taking a sip from a drinking fountain and thinking, “Hmm… That tastes a bit too much like a school locker room.” Although some students refuse to use Lone Peak’s water fountains, the truth is that some of the school’s fountains provide better tasting water than others. For a while, rumor has had it that the choir room’s water fountain has the best tasting water. The Journalism team decided to put this myth to the test, collecting water from fountains throughout the school and putting students through a blind taste test to determine where the “yummiest” water in the school can be located.
Water, though thought for a long time to be tasteless, can vary in flavor depending on the “minerals and other compounds the water picks up on its journey” (Ossola, Cook’s Illustrated). Distilled water, for example, has no impurities, and consequently has no flavor. However, as water travels through pipes (on its way to the drinking fountains, for instance), it collects small particles that slowly build up the “flavor” we recognize as we drink it.
To figure out which water source has the best (and worst) flavored water, members of the Journalism staff collected water from a variety of fountains throughout the Lone Peak. Students were then given samples of each water through a blind taste test while their reactions and comments were recorded thoroughly. As high school students, we lack specialized equipment to measure the content of the water. However, the feedback and description of each water type was consistent and united in whether the water was liked or disliked.
Lone Peak’s choir room, while a superb place of learning and creating harmony, does not have the school’s most preferred drinking fountain – quite the opposite, in fact. Descriptions of water from the choir room included “the worst of all the water sampled,” “nothing significant,” “banal,” “mediocre,” and “warmer than the other water.” Overall, taste testers agreed that water from the choir room lacked freshness. In a way similar to the placebo effect, perhaps students have been convinced for years that the choir room’s drinking fountain provides the best water simply because that’s what they’ve been told.
The loss of the choir room as a reliable place to get the best tasting water may seem a major casualty, but while students argued it to be one of the worst (alongside the Field House Gym’s water fountain), everyone reported the same favorite: the trailer drinking fountains. Again and again, students reported water from the trailers to be the freshest, coldest, and tastiest. Not a single person chose the trailer as their least favorite.
Another surprising discovery: the second-to-worst water came from an unpredictable fountain – the water bottle filler, located in the commons. Nearly every evaluation included one word to describe this water: metallic. One tester claimed to enjoy this leaden taste, but all others referred to it as a negative characteristic of the water.
Though the conclusions drawn from this experiment were unexpected, the more surprising fact is that the stark contrast between the water fountains – such a large disparity that it could be detected through a series of simple taste tests. Though most people might not consider it a big deal whether they take a drink from the commons or the gym, it turns out that optimally flavored water comes from one location at Lone Peak, and it’s time to start spreading a new rumor: turns out the trailers win.