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Heart Assn. Urges VA Lawmakers to Add School Water-Filling Stations

In addition to providing easy access to clean water, bottle-filling stations can help cut down kids' consumption of sugary beverages. (Adobe stock)
In addition to providing easy access to clean water, bottle-filling stations can help cut down kids' consumption of sugary beverages. (Adobe stock)
October 2, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – We all know that drinking water is essential to health, and the American Heart Association of Virginia is proposing adding water-bottle filling stations to all new or renovated schools throughout the state.

Studies have shown that kids who have access to filling stations at schools for their water bottles see major health benefits, said Chelsi Bennett, government relations director for the American Heart Association of Virginia.

"There was significant decline in their likelihood of being overweight, as well as water helped improve short-term memory, fine motor skills," she said. "It's important for the digestive system, muscles, joints, tissues."

She said the American Heart Association is working with state Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, on a href="https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/19rs/sb162.html" target="parent">legislation in the 2020 General Assembly to bring more water stations into schools. Kentucky was first in the nation to pass a similar bill in April.

Installing more bottle-filling stations would increase water consumption and also cut down on waste, Bennett said.

She spoke with students who support the proposal, saying not only is it a hassle to fill containers at water fountains, but they think it's also bad for the environment to keep buying plastic bottles of water from vending machines.

"If there's a bottle-filling station where they are able to put their bottle there, you know, many of those stations also have that counter that shows how many plastic bottles they are saving," she said. "The environmental piece was a really big piece for the students that I spoke with."

She added the first step in adding water stations would be to get legislators to update Virginia's plumbing code for public schools to allow construction to go forward.

The text of Kentucky Senate Bill 162, which includes bottle-filling stations among multiple school-related topics, is online at apps.leglslature.ky.gov.

Disclosure: American Heart Association Mid Atlantic Affiliate contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, Smoking Prevention. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Diane Bernard, Public News Service - VA