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Councilmember proposes legislation requiring water refill stations at hydrants

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Manhattan Councilmember Erik Bottcher unveiled a groundbreaking proposal on Thursday aimed at enhancing access to potable water throughout New York City. The legislation, if enacted, would mandate the installation of water bottle refill stations at fire hydrants across the metropolis.

In a poignant statement, Councilmember Bottcher, representing West Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen, underscored the significance of the initiative. He emphasized the importance of facilitating convenient alternatives to single-use plastic bottles. “It’s sometimes easy to overlook the simple things that can make a big impact,” he noted, advocating for the seamless transition to reusable water bottles.

According to a press release, the proposed bill would empower the Department of Environmental Protection to collaborate with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) in implementing a pilot program. This program would entail the modification of five fire hydrants in each borough, equipped with water bottle refill stations. These stations would be operational from April to September, catering to the public’s hydration needs during warmer months.

The envisioned scheme aims to strategically position refill stations in high foot traffic areas across the five boroughs, ensuring widespread accessibility to clean drinking water. By fostering such accessibility, the initiative seeks to curtail the consumption of single-use plastic water bottles, aligning with broader sustainability goals.

Councilmember Bottcher expressed optimism regarding the scalability of the initiative, asserting that the success of the pilot program could pave the way for further conversions of fire hydrants into refill stations. This forward-looking approach underscores a commitment to environmental stewardship and community well-being.

The proposed legislation signals a proactive step towards promoting environmental sustainability and public health in New York City. If enacted, it could serve as a model for municipalities grappling with similar challenges, heralding a shift towards more eco-conscious urban infrastructure.

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