– The Town of North Hempstead today took another major step in a newly-launched campaign to change the way residents think about drinking water and the source of their supply.
Joining with environmentalists, civics and County officials and representatives of Smart Tap®, members of the Town Board unveiled a bottle filling station at Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson, one of dozens that soon will appear throughout the Town and in the schools.
“In this Town we are thirsty to become more environmentally minded,” said Town Councilman Thomas Dwyer, who sits on the Town’s Ecological Commission. Councilman Dwyer, whose district encompasses Albertson, added that with more than 40,000 students participating in North Hempstead’s Comprehensive School Recycling Program, “our young people get it that plastic bottles are not good for the environment. Laying the foundation for them to become environmental stewards is a priority for us in Town government.”
A partnership North Hempstead recently entered into with Smart Tap® will result in the installation of thirty new bottle-filling stations throughout Town parks and other facilities. The program is cost-free to taxpayer. The filling stations, which are largely replacing old outdated water fountains, are designed so users can sip directly from them or easily and conveniently refill a personal water bottle.
Smart Tap® CEO/Founder Bill Apfelbaum, approached the Town earlier this year offering to donate the bottle-filling stations.
“We have the best water in the world, and far too few people have easy access to it when they are outdoors," Apfelbaum said. "Smart Tap is working to provide people with easy access to bottle filling stations, as well as encouraging the use of reusable water bottles in order to reduce the negative impact of disposable water bottle on the environment. We are working closely with the citizens and leadership in North Hempstead to make this a better, cleaner and healthier community. One Smart Tap at a time."
Smart Tap® fountains have been installed in numerous locations nationwide including Brooklyn, NY; Stamford, CT; Malibu, CA; and Watertown, WI.
Referring to the ‘Drink Up!’ campaign recently launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, North Hempstead’s Chief Sustainability Officer Fran Reid said the timing of Smart Tap® initiative perfectly encourages Americans to increase their H2O intake.
“The installation of Smart Tap® fountains dovetails perfectly with the overall theme of the ‘Drink Up’ campaign by providing convenient access to clean filtered tap water, which contributes to a healthy lifestyle for Town residents,” Reid said. “At the same time we are protecting our environment by keeping plastic bottles out of our landfills.”
According to research only 13% of plastic water bottles end up being recycled, 1.5 million tons of plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year, and in 2011 Americans spent more than $21 billion on bottled water.
Several water conservationists have supported the Smart Tap® program because of its environmental benefits. Sarah Meyland, Director of Water Resources Management at the New York Institute of Technology, said, “Encouraging residents to drink more water from refillable bottles recognizes the commendable efforts of our water suppliers as they endeavor to bring the best water quality to all of North Hempstead."
Port Washington Water District Commissioner Mindy Germain was excited about the prospect of Smart Tap® fountains being placed throughout the Town, including North Hempstead Beach Park and Town Dock in Port Washington where they are already installed.
“This is about getting the whole community to work together to keep where we all live sustainable and beautiful. With quality tap water accessible on the go, there is no need to purchase plastic water bottles that are polluting our environment. If everyone transitioned to high quality reusable water bottles, we will start repairing our environment one bottle at a time,” said Germain, who also serves as Executive Director of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington.
This program also provides for one water fountain to be installed at a school participating in the North Hempstead School Recycling Program, for each fountain that is installed in a Town park or facility.
David Flatley, Superintendent of the Carle Place School District, was also on hand to thank the Town and Smart Tap® for the donation. “As educators, we have a responsibility to teach our students to become stewards of the environment,” he said. “With these filling stations, our actions will speak louder than our words.”
Other elected officials attending included Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, and Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth.
This partnership with Smart Tap® is among a host of environmental initiatives sponsored by the Town. They include the Rain Barrel and Composter programs, and hazardous waste and pharmaceutical drop-offs in addition to the School Recycling effort.
Commissioner of the Solid Waste Management Authority Igor Sikiric, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Jennifer Fava, Port Washington Water District Commissioner Mindy Germain, Town Councilman Thomas Dwyer, Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth, Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, Superintendent of the Carle Place School District David Flatley, Chief Sustainability Officer Fran Reid and Smart Tap® CEO/Founder Bill Apfelbaum
From left, Councilman Thomas Dwyer serving as M.C. for the event, along with Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth and Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan. The Smart Tap fountain is between Bosworth and Kaplan.
Anna Kaplan demonstrates how to use the Smart Tap fountain.