Chester County Solid Waste partners with TDOT to provide schools with water bottle stations

CCHS student Rachel Hibbett refills her water bottle at one of the new water botter filling stations .

Chester County Solid Waste Department has partnered with TDOT’s Beautification Office to provide six water bottle filling stations to the Chester County School District.
Due to COVID safety guidelines, the school district needed to restrict the use of standard drinking fountains in their schools.
Students are now required to bring a reusable bottle each day to be refilled throughout the school day.
As this new change was announced, the Solid Waste Department’s Education Coordinator, Misti Pequignot, and the staff from the school district’s Coordinated School Health (Eagle’s Edge) saw a need for water bottle filling stations to be installed in each school. After discussion with the school administrators, Pequignot contacted TDOT’s Beautification Office and explained this need for the bottle filling stations and they agreed to fund this project with Chester County’s Litter Grant funding.
TDOT provides Litter Grant funding annually to all 95 counties in Tennessee to combat roadway litter and illegal dumping.
The grant funds each county’s litter pickup crews and also provides funding for litter prevention education. Leadership at TDOT’s Beautification Office recognized the number of plastic water bottles that could be saved from disposal and potentially littering the earth. In fact, each bottle filling station is equipped with a digital meter that counts how many plastic water bottles each station has saved while in use.
The stations are also sensor activated so students never even have to touch the surface of the stations, making the bottle filling station optimal for use amidst the CDC’s COVID safety guidelines.
Each station was retrofitted to replace an existing standard water fountain.
Chester County Solid Waste Department also used Litter Grant funds to provide the school district’s Family Resource Center (Eagle’s Edge) with 200 reusable water bottles for students who may not have a bottle or have forgotten their bottle at home that day.
Chester County’s Litter Crew collected nearly 50 tons of litter in 2020.
“With having three children in the school system and spending time with teachers and students in the classrooms, I knew the new water fountain policy would affect everyone’s daily routines,” said Misti Pequignot, Chester County Solid Waste Education Coordinator. “With all of the new changes that came about this year due to COVID, we all wanted to help students and teachers in any way that we could.”