Like Philly’s New Water Stations? Help Us Do More

A jogger stops for a cool sip at the Art Museum drinking water station, one of four located along the Schuylkill. Philadelphia Water is looking for vendors with ideas that will bring more stations to neighborhoods across the City.
A woman stops to fill up at the Art Museum drinking water station, one of four located along the Schuylkill. Philadelphia Water is looking for vendors with ideas that will bring more stations to neighborhoods across the City.

This summer is coming to a close with some good news for the #DrinkTapPHL movement.

Plan Philly wrote a great story about our new drinking water stations along the Kelly Drive section of the Schuylkill River Trail, and we’ve been getting lots of great feedback from trail users and on social media. Now, we're looking for ways to bring similar stations to more neighborhoods across the city.

Early numbers tell us our existing four stations are a hit—and that they may be making a real dent in waste.

On average, the stations have distributed the equivalent of 8,510 half-liter bottles—the most common single-use packaging size—per month.
At that rate, water used at the stations from March through September would amount to nearly 240,000 single-use plastic bottles.

When you consider that buying those bottles at your local convenience store would cost you more than a quarter million dollars, it’s pretty clear that those filling up along the trail are making a smart decision for their wallets, not to mention the planet.

The outpouring of positive support for these stations is revealing a growing desire for increased access to public drinking water, both in parks and neighborhoods. To meet that demand, we’re looking for organizations with ideas that can help make an expanded network of drinking water stations a reality.

More and more people are appreciating that local water is more than just a way to stay hydrated—drawn from local rivers and delivered right to every home with zero waste from plastic packaging and delivery trucks, tap water is the ultimate green beverage.

At less than a penny per gallon, it also happens to be hundreds of times cheaper than bottled water, more than half of which is simply packaged tap anyway.

All of this is behind a new push to create public drinking water stations that can serve neighborhoods all over the city. In July, we released a Request for Information that seeks input from vendors that can help us find ways to install, maintain, and support a system of new public drinking water stations.
The deadline to sumbit ideas has been extended to Monday, October 3, 2016.

We know that tap water and reusable bottles are the all-around better choice—hundreds of times cheaper than bottled water and far less wasteful in terms of the pollution and trash created—and we want to bring those benefits to our neighborhoods, where empty plastic bottles make up much of the litter found in streets and parks.

We look forward to seeing what ideas will come in through this process, and we’ll keep you updated as the process moves forward.

Think you may know an organization or company that can help? Please spread the word! The full RFI and related documents are available here.