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  Photo credit: Haws Corp.


It seems the latest trend is to carry your own bottle to use for drinking water. All my children carry a water bottle. Even my wife carries a water bottle.

I’ll have to admit that I am behind the times because I don’t carry a water bottle everywhere. I am constantly receiving reusable water bottles as free handouts. So, while I am not a big user, I have plenty of water bottles. Although I guess I am somewhat hip in that I peddle a bicycle with a water bottle attached to my bike. So, in one way, I have entered the world of carrying a water bottle. Of course, when I am backpacking, water is one of the essential items I carry, both in a bottle and a drinking bladder.

While many times a bottle is filled with water, it also is carried empty, thanks to the TSA and our terrorism concerns. Plus, when you finish drinking the water, you need a refill. Thus, this water bottle craze has opened up some opportunities for plumbing contractors.

The first question should be, how do you fill a water bottle? The second question should be, how do you empty a water bottle?

Let me hit the second question first. You may be wondering why you need a place to empty a water bottle. That occurs anytime security rules prohibit more than 3 ounces of a liquid, such as the TSA requirements when you are going through airport security. Another place I found with the same security rules was a county courthouse.

Quite often the water bottle users forget they have water in their bottle. As a result, they have to get rid of the remaining water. I have watched people try to guzzle the remaining water in their bottle when they reach the security scanner. In a very few airports, there are bottle-emptying stations at security checkpoints. That makes it rather convenient. And it is something you should be promoting.

Why not approach airports, courthouses and similar secured areas and suggest a bottle-emptying station? It only makes good sense.

Recently I was going through security with a colleague at an airport in Oklahoma. He forgot he had his water bottle in his briefcase. Somehow he managed to get through security on his flight to Oklahoma. However, on the return trip, TSA found the bottle half-filled with water.

Normally, the TSA agent either confiscates the bottle or has you go back through security and empty the water. This TSA agent was a very nice guy and told him to give him a minute and he emptied my colleague’s water bottle. A bottle-emptying station would have made it nice for both parties.


Bottle-filling solutions

My first question applies everywhere, not just security lines. How do you fill your water bottle?

When I am out riding my bike, on some bike trails the local community leaves a large jug of water that makes it easy to fill your water bottle. Otherwise, you are trying to find a drinking fountain and finagling the bottle in order to fill it. Quite often, water ends up on the ground or the floor. Not an ideal way of filling a water bottle.

I have seen people trying to fill water bottles in the toilet room lavatory. Again, not a great place to get a water bottle filled. We don’t consider toilet rooms the cleanest location for obtaining drinking water. As you know, the plumbing code prohibits drinking fountains in toilet rooms.

In my office, we have a refrigerator with a water- and ice-filling station. So, that provides a means of filling a water bottle. Other offices suggest using the kitchen sink in the lunch room. Not bad, but not the greatest way of getting cold water.

Fortunately, plumbing manufacturers are coming out with bottle-filling stations. You place the water bottle in the filling station and presto, the water bottle is automatically filled. Not only that, but many of these stations refrigerate the water, giving you nice, cold drinking water.

Another trend is to have a bottle-filling station as a part of the drinking fountain. The bottle station is on the rear wall of the drinking fountain. If you haven’t checked out the latest bottle-filling stations, I would encourage you to do so. They are really slick.

To take this one step further, I recommend that you contact your commercial customers and offer bottle-filling stations for their facilities. If you want to make it easy on them, suggest switching out their drinking fountains for combination drinking fountains and bottle-filling stations.

If you install a bottle-emptying station at a security checkpoint, suggest a bottle-filling station on the other side of security. Yes, it seems like a waste of water, but that is what has become necessary to prevent terrorist acts. It would be convenient for travelers to have such a station where they need it most — right after security.

And it will make your customers look good by providing a service for the latest trend.

The plumbing codes are already changing. They are starting to recognize bottle-filling stations as a means of substitution for 50% of the required drinking fountains.

It is time for you to become hip and get up to speed on reusable water bottles. Bottle-filling stations are the latest and greatest water-conservation trend. Plus, there is an opportunity for you and your company to make money installing them.

 You might even consider handing out water bottles with your company name on them. It would be a good promotion to encourage more installations of bottle-filling stations.