Students moving from the metro Detroit area to Michigan State University’s campus freshman year experienced many adjustments.
Whether they went from never sharing a room to having a roommate or catching a bus for the first time, having to adjust to the water in their dorms probably never crossed their mind.
Although a water quality report in 2016 confirmed that the water on MSU’s campus was safe, students think otherwise due to the color of the water and effects they think it has had on their hair and skin.
Senior Kayla McNeal, who lived in Holmes hall her freshman, year experienced firsthand effects she attributes to the water.
“The water seemed to make my skin extremely dry,” said McNeal. “It made me feel like I wasn’t really clean after taking a shower. My hair eventually broke off from washing it in the water just a few times.”
McNeal took action by attaching water filters to the sink as well as the shower head in the bathroom, but that only helped so much. Eventually she stopped washing her hair on campus as well as washing clothes.
Moving to Brody neighborhood her sophomore year, McNeal immediately noticed an improvement in the water quality. Currently living off campus, the water seems to be better on her hair and skin, but she still prefers the water quality in her hometown of Detroit.
Natalie Valdez, a senior at Michigan State as well, lived in Holden Hall on the opposite side of campus from Holmes and experienced the same thing as McNeal.
“My hair began to get really damaged and dry, and my skin began to get irritated,” said Valdez. Using different protective hair products and body wash helped Valdez’s situation but was a hassle.
Similar to McNeal’s situation, once she moved off of campus, she thought the water quality was much better.
Junior Nate Brown attributes a change in his skin and hair to the water, but he had an opposite effect from how the girls’ skin and hair reacted.
“My skin was a whole lot more oily as well as my hair,” said Brown. After living in McDonel for two years, Brown noticed a difference in the water since living in Brody neighborhood.
“Now I live in Butterfield, and the water is so much better in Brody. My skin is clearer than how it was when I was living in McDonel,” said Brown.
The water in Brody neighborhood seems to be “better” as students described it, due to the improvement of hair and skin after moving from a different neighborhood.
The color of the water as well as the stains it leaves behind in toilet bowls has raised concern among students. Students even shared photos of the yellow-brown water coming out of a faucet via Snapchat on the “MSU Campus Story.”
MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities states that the water comes from groundwater wells. The water goes through changes before being pumped to campus through 67 miles of pipes.
First chlorine is added to the water as a disinfectant, then fluoride “to promote strong teeth and bones.” Lastly, to prevent corrosion, phosphate and caustic are added.
MSU has received recognition and awards for its Wellhead Protection Program, which is a program that works to prevent potential contamination from contaminant sources before they get to the wells.
Although the water is proven safe and clean, some students are still taking precautions and using preventive measures to avoid dry hair and skin.