A new University of Connecticut guideline is encouraging all university departments to use water refilling stations instead of water coolers as of Aug. 1, according to university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.
Although UConn has always required departments to state why they need a water cooler, typically a five-gallon bottle that dispenses water, this is the first time a preference for alternative water resources has been made, Reitz said.
“The goal is to make faculty and staff more aware of the other options to get drinking water,” Reitz said. “We’d like to see more filling stations installed across the campus to make this option more widely available to all.”
The hope is the guideline will reduce costs and lessen environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions, according to a memo from Matthew Larson, associate vice president and chief procurement officer at University Business Services.
UConn has over sixty water refilling stations, with more on the way, according to UConn’s Office of Sustainability website. Reitz said ultimately the water refilling stations will be more cost effective than water coolers.
“There’s a one-time cost to install a water filling station, but that compares favorably against the ongoing costs of monthly water container deliveries and the equipment rental,” Reitz said. “Although the cost depends on the volume of water at any given location, over time the cost of installing a permanent water filling station will pay for itself.”
After Aug. 1, the only locations that host water coolers are those that support prospective students, potential funders, University business partners and buildings where running water is not available, according to the guideline.
Water coolers can also be provided for select student activities.
Tap water from the water refilling stations is safer than bottled water, according to UConn’s Office of Sustainability website. In order to keep UConn’s tap water safe, the water system is routinely sampled to comply with federal and local standards, Reitz said.
“To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Public Health establish and enforce regulations that limit the amount of certain substances in the water provided by public water systems such as UConn’s,” Reitz said. “Samples from the University’s and Connecticut Water Co.’s water systems are tested regularly at state-certified laboratories to ensure compliance with state and federal water quality standards.”
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.