Hydration stations reduce plastic water bottle use

October 29, 2018 — by Kaylene Morrison and Kaitlyn Wang

Periodically throughout the school day, students and teachers slip in and out of the Journalism Room to fill their water bottles. As of Oct. 23, the hydration station has “saved” almost 8,000 plastic water bottles.

The school’s hydration stations are located in the Journalism Room, the cafeteria, the park in front of the swimming pool, the McAfee Center, the weight room and the gym lobby, as well as outside of the music building and at the sports plaza and softball field. The installation of hydration stations throughout campus has encouraged students to drink more water and bring their own reusable bottles.

“There’s lots of hydration stations going in around because we know our students use them,” principal Paul Robinson said. “We know it’s better for students.”

He also said that the regular water fountains around campus provide filtered water but that the hydration stations make refilling water bottles much easier.

The school often installs hydration stations when construction or renovation occurs, he said, such as the construction of the music building last year.

The new student center in the 800 wing will also include a hydration station, and the school might include another in the 900 wing when it renovates the robotics room and builds a new classroom, Robinson said.

Water from the drinking fountain in the 900 wing is currently not filtered, so the water has been shut off. Once the school modernizes the building, water will be made available.

The hydration stations usually cost anywhere from around $2,500 to $3,500, maintenance and facilities director Brian Moran said. Filters, which are replaced twice a year, cost around $75.

Because of the high cost, junior Nikita Pawar doesn’t think additional hydration stations are necessary.

“I feel like we don’t need more, but I think it’s good to have them, maybe at least two,” Pawar said. “It’s probably saving a lot of money, and a lot of people don’t recycle the plastic water bottles that we buy at school.”

While the stations are expensive, parent donations have funded the installation of a few, including the ones in the McAfee Center and Journalism Room.

“What’s interesting is once we started to do some of these with construction projects, people want it more,” assistant principal Brian Thompson said. “The Journalism Room one was fundraised by PTSO. That was a special project that was put in based on the journalism kids wanting one for that area of campus.”

While all of the water fountains and hydration stations have some type of filter, the newer ones have more “industrialized filters,” such as the hydration station that will be installed in the 800 wing. As hydration stations increase the convenience of filling water bottles, they encourage students to bring their own reusable water bottles.

“I would think that with the bottle fillers that are available, students probably use them to fill up their water bottles instead of spending a dollar to go buy a bottle of water,” Moran said.

Pawar used to buy plastic bottles of water from the cafeteria, but she now brings a Hydroflask to school instead.

“I realized that I probably spent at least $20 just buying water bottles last year and then not reusing them,” Pawar said. “Once I had my Hydroflask it’s been a lot easier to fill it up because of the stations. It’s not like you have to tilt it and fill it — you just put it there.”  

Thompson agrees that hydration stations not only encourage students to bring reusable water bottles, but also help people remember the importance of drinking water.

“I think that because of the hydration stations, students are less inclined to use plastic water bottles and more have started using hydration flasks around campus,” Thompson said. “I see kids not only during the school day but after school during sporting events going to certain stations and filling up their water and just being more conscious about staying hydrated.”

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