Councilor O’Malley Proposes Bringing New Tap Water Options to Boston’s Public Places
November 30, 2012
Urges Adoption of New Technologies to Encourage Health, Reduce Waste
Councilor O’Malley wants to explore the best practices, safety and new technologies around the delivery of tap water in public places, including Boston’s parks and open spaces.
Councilor O’Malley filed an order for a hearing at the City Council’s weekly meeting today. The order was sent to the City Council’s Environment and Human Rights Committee and a public hearing will be scheduled.
O’Malley hopes to bring more bubblers, water fountains and water filling stations to neighborhoods across the city. O’Malley sees the health and environmental benefits of tap water consumption as twofold; allowing individuals to further enjoy the city’s great resources and reducing waste from one use bottles.
According to the Environmental Working Group and Corporate Accountability International, environmental watchdog organizations, the City of Boston’s tap water is some of the cleanest, safest water in the nation. However, Massachusetts residents drink a staggering amount of bottled water – more than 300 million gallons in a year, making the Commonwealth 6th in the U.S. in overall consumption. Less than 20 percent of those bottles are recycled. The rest end up in landfills or on the roadside as litter. Additionally, the Pacific Institute, a nationally recognized environmental think tank, noted that bottled water is up to 2,000 times more energy intensive to produce than the region’s tap water.
O’Malley said several major cities are re-examing tap water delivery and pointed to San Francisco as a city with an innovative approach to tap water availability. Since 2010, officials began installing newly designed “tap stations” which allow residents to fill reusable water containers in a clean and sanitary way. Tap stations are now open around the city and provide the public with access to high-quality tap water while on the go. Residents are able to reuse their own containers rather than purchase costly single-use bottled water. This also promotes the conservation of natural resources while encouraging residents to reduce waste.
“I believe we need to begin to rethink tap water consumption and availability in Boston,” said Councilor O’Malley. “We are seeing the long term health impacts linked the consumption of sugary drinks. We are also seeing the long term environmental impacts of the astronomical number of plastic water bottles being discarded. We need to look at making water available to residents in public places in a safe, clean and affordable way.”