How safe is it to drink from a public water fountain?

How safe is it to drink from a public water fountain?

Rob Innes3/11/2020Safety & Hygiene
public drinking fountain

In a drive to reduce plastic waste, people are installing drinking fountains in public spaces. From gyms, schools, and parks, to stadiums – demand for drinking fountains and bottle filling stations has grown.

However, in an increasingly virus-aware climate, how can people be sure that using a public drinking fountain is safe? 

A growing hyperawareness of hygiene

At the time of writing, the coronavirus has put Italy into lock-down, and cases in the UK growing exponentially.

The sight of people in public spaces wearing face masks is increasingly common. And we’re all washing our hands meticulously fear of catching the virus.

In this unprecedented atmosphere I wonder how willing people would be to drink directly from a tap on a public drinking fountain?

What are the risks?

The good news is that disease outbreaks from public drinking fountains are exceptionally rare. And with the advancements in drinking water technology there are now more products available that fight bacteria right at the point of dispensing.

Perhaps people are concerned about the areas around the tap that people touch, such as the basin, and handles. As with any surface - be it a door handle, a petrol pump, physical money - viruses can live on contaminated surfaces. A drinking fountain is no different. Regular cleaning and maintenance of drinking fountains is important, and most schools, gyms, and public areas should be equipped with the right information about keeping fountains clean. 

To mitigate risks many drinking fountains and bottle fillers are now designed with push buttons that are away from the dispense point, which avoids the risk of cross-contamination. For example, the barrier-free line of products from Oasis utilise antimicrobial copper technology that fight off microorganisms on key touch point areas to help prevent the spread of disease.

What are the solutions?

As a leading supplier of drinking fountains and bottle filling stations we work with our global partners such as Blue Pura and Oasis to ensure we can provide products that have the very best protection against potentially harmful bacteria.

For example, our partner Oasis have developed a water treatment system called QUASAR, which uses UVC-LEDs, specifically UV-C, to cleanse drinking water as it comes out of the dispenser tap.

QUASAR fountains & bottle fillers achieve a 99.99% reduction of common waterborne pathogens, including giardia, legionella, listeria, cryptosporidium, shigella, and E. coli, among others. When paired with OASIS water filters, QUASAR provides safe, pure, pathogen-free drinking water.

Oasis bottle fillers also utilise Freshfield®, which uses a silver-based antimicrobial compound that reduces the growth of micro-organisms and mildew, to protect the surfaces from bacteria, discolouration, odours and degradation.

Oasis bottle filling station

Similarly, the City Range from Blu Pura (as installed in London Zoo) uses anti-bacterial UV lamps operating at the outlet of each tap. These UV rays have a sterlising effect to prevent spread of bacteria. 

Blu Pura UV

And for the smaller scale solutions you might find in your office, there is of course regular sanitisation for your water cooler dispenser, performed by a water cooler engineer. This ensures the outside points of your cooler are kept hygienic and free from bacteria.

We encourage everyone to enjoy free water from refill stations and drinking fountains. The risk of disease from drinking from a fountain is still extremely low, and a sensible approach to hand washing and touching surfaces is still as important as it ever was.

By choosing the right product you can provide your customers/the public with the reassurance that they are enjoying water safely and hygienically.


If you are considering installing drinking fountains, or bottle filling stations and want to know more about the technologies and products mentioned in this article please get in touch. We are always happy to answer any queries you might have.

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