It Depends on Your Application and Building Codes

Should you specify a water filling station or a drinking fountain in your next building plan? This has been hotly debated at architectural and engineering firms all around the world. Recently, we’ve been reaching out to our customers to solve “once and for all” whether it is acceptable to use an in-wall bottle filling station “in-lieu of” a traditional drinking fountain. The responses have been mixed, some say “Yes, absolutely”, while others, just as vehemently say, “No way”.

The bottle filling station is very popular, particularly because of its environmental impact, and Filtrine designed the first one in 1922 (Drinking Water Solutions Update, “The Invention, Evolution and History of the First Water Bottle Filling Station”). However the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in the 90’s required that public drinking fountains be accessible to all including those with physical challenges. In reviewing the ADA code (and consulting with several engineers), we are satisfied that there isn’t verbiage that specifically rules out using an in-wall bottle filling station instead of a drinking fountain on commercial projects. However, there isn’t any verbiage that says you can either. Therefore, it is open to interpretation on a case-by-case basis.

If you are a designer interested in specifying water filling stations instead of drinking fountains, we would like to point you towards Filtrine’s Case Study on 155 North Wacker Drive Office Building in Chicago, IL (a 2008 project that installed 81 of Filtrine Model B103-CD2 in-wall bottle fillers and no drinking fountains). This high-profile building in the downtown area was the first building that we know of that totally cut out drinking fountains all together. Because this was in Chicago (one of the strictest plumbing codes around) it is an excellent precedent for us to use. We have documentation from the project that proves the local plumbing inspector was indeed accepting the bottle filling station as a substitute. This documentation is available upon request, just fill out our contact form.

Another feature of the Wacker Drive project that helped the Model B103-CD2 water filling stations get accepted as a “drinking fountain” was the fact that it had an integral cup dispenser. Even though the idea of providing disposable cups is somewhat in conflict with all the “green” advantages to the bottle filling station, it does ensure that anyone can have access to drinking water (whether they have a reusable bottle or not).

There is an alternative to specifying all water filling stations if you prefer. Filtrine offers a wide variety of bottle filling station/drinking fountain combinations. You can also request a chiller and purifier to be added below. Because Filtrine builds equipment to suit the customer we are willing to work with you on your specific application. Each model is available in stainless or bronze in your choice of finishes, or you can go with any color you want with the powder coat option. Any Filtrine bottle filling station or drinking fountain can be made touchless.

For more information, fill out the Drinking Water Product Request a Quote Form or contact your local Filtrine Drinking Water Representative today.

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For more information on any of these models, contact your local Filtrine Drinking Water Representative today.

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