Health-conscious city councilor wants to ensure water, water everywhere

City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) thinks the city should dramatically expand its bubbler network as a way of encouraging people to exercise - and just being nice to visitors in this most walkable of cities - by ensuring they have ready access to high-quality Boston tap water.

The council tomorrow considers his request for a hearing on the idea, which he says would also encourage people to stop filling up landfills with disposable plastic bottles, short of just banning them, like some suburban towns we could name. He assures us:

Massachusetts water sources have some of the most advanced disinfection techniques available and the City of Boston has long been at the forefront of water and wastewater engineering. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the City of Boston are proud of their heritage of "generations of great water."

Ed. note: Maybe O'Malley could team up with Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley on their free WiFi idea and turn abandoned pay phones into convenience centers where people on the go could fill up their Nalgene bottles and check their e-mail at the same time.



Free tagging: 

PDF icon O'Malley water hearing request0 bytes



By on

They should zone them so they're not bubbling up in my neighborhood.

I know O'Malley is an Idiot

By on

but if we increase the amount of water people are consuming one could expect more people will need to piss! Why not address a real problem like the fact Boston has NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS>

Anyone who has trained for a

Anyone who has trained for a marathon in the cities of Boston/Cambridge knows the location of every available water fountain, and they are few and far between. I wholeheartedly support this effort, but I also agree that we need more public RR's.

and even then they are shut

By on

and even then they are shut off during winter by the city & state, which is understandable, but its not even that bad yet! ( cough arboretum)

Water fountain = toilet

By on

There's a basin with a drain there, right?

Hence why no one drinks from them.

Good idea, sorta

By on

but it sounds pretty gross to me frankly. I used bubblers during elementary and high school, but I sure as hell wouldn't use a bubbler on the Common during the summer, eeesh.

Only 4 replies...

By on

...before seeing exactly what I expected. This is a GREAT idea, but this new anti-bacterial, fear-of-everything culture we have cultivated will insure no one uses them.

Disgust factor

By on

"This is a GREAT idea, but this new anti-bacterial, fear-of-everything culture we have cultivated will insure no one uses them."

I agree that many people now have an irrational and almost laugable germophobia. But it is likely not the germ or bacteria factor that would prevent me from drinking from a public fountain/bubbler. It is the disgust factor. For unexplainable reasons people feel the need to spit and hock up bodily fluids into public water recepticles of this nature. Don't ask me why.(In fact, don't ask me why people spit in general). They also disgard used chewing gum into them.

Knock yourself out...

By on

But it is my feeling that most bubblers in the Common, on the Esplanade, and other highly-tafficked public spaces in the city would become vile very quickly. They will never, ever get cleaned, and 10's of thousands of people will use them. Drinking from them, spitting in them, throwing trash in them...forget it.

I as well find the amount of plastic waste generated by water bottles to be ghastly. I am flummoxed as to how a population could be so incredibly parched all the time! Drink some water at home, at the office, at a restaurant, OR get one of those metal canteen dealies, and fill it up at home.

Data Please

Once again, we hear that all those other people in Boston are incapable of behaving themselves, and that, if we aren't drinking chlorox straight we will all DIE DIE DIE.

Portland, Oregon put in fountains over a century ago and I've rarely seen one look less than useable. The theory was that workingmen would take a sip from a fountain rather than go to one of the many bars when thirsty.Not sure how well that worked.

Note that Portland, given the mild climate, has a much larger "transient" population than Boston does.

To what do Bostonians owe this dread and histrionic fear of ... SHARED PLUMBING FIXTURES!!!!! (da DUMMMMMMM)OMG WE WILL ALL DIE!!!

I'm not suggesting that we have fountains like these old gems, but I do think the fear of public accomodations for necessary bodily comfort is amusing, troubling, and utterly reflexive without support.

I have to agree

By on

Part of the reason people buy bottled water, or carry bottled water, is because of those disgusting people who insist on putting their mouth right on the spigot, hacking loogies or other nasty stuff into the drain, and are otherwise repulsive and disgusting.

I would 100% not use a public water fountain in most parts of the city. I don't need Hep A.


By on

Is there any formal studies showing that people have gotten sick from a public bubbler in the US? Short of licking the fountain they seem pretty safe to me. Seeing as how public fountains have been a fixture of parks and playgrounds for decades and I've never heard of anyone getting sick I'd trust one. It's not like people/fountains are more germ-filled today then 20 years ago.

Many years ago the Boston Globe had an interesting taste test where they found a bunch of professional wine tasters and served them bottled water from a bunch of brands plus tap water from a public fountain near the JFK library. The public fountain water was found to be the best tasting. They also did chemical tests and found the public water to have traces of lead (from the pipes) but it was safe. The bottled water had traces of all types of chemicals, likely from the bottling.

Also agree with the public restrooms. No reason why any park larger than a 1/2 block shouldn't have one.

I don't have a problem

By on

I don't have a problem drinking out of most drinking fountains, but if there is no water pressure, I do *not* want to get both my face and mouth all up in there. And generally, public drinking fountains are either WHOA CHECK OUT HOW FAR THIS SHOOTS! or there's barely any water trickling out.

This said, I would *not* use one in the Common, no way.

THANK YOU for calling them

By on

THANK YOU for calling them bubblers as opposed to water fountains. And, for all those who seem to be confused on the issue... it's a rotary not a roundabout.

I have a bubbler in my office

By on

It isn't connected to plumbing and makes bubbly noises.

Connected to plumbing? Fountain.

Nope. Sorry. Wrong. It's a

By on

Nope. Sorry. Wrong. It's a bubbler. Thanks for playing though.

Furthermore, around here we call sneakers, sneakers. You may call them tennis shoes. And that's fine.


By on

When I think of the problems in Boston, 'Lack of water fountains' doesn't really rank too high.

To be sure, this is inoffensive, I just hope we don't devote any serious resources to this.


By on

Our state is bankrupt and looking to cut costs in any way, and the city of Boston is concerned about adding water fountains?

Really? Come'on folks. Waste of money in tough times like these.

Bubblers might be an unnecessary expense, but

By on

how is the state bankrupt again? Last I checked, the Commonwealth was sitting on a nearly $1B "rainy-day" fund (even if tax revenues are running a bit below projections this year).

Let's resist the urge to let silly media refrains cooked up by special interest groups pass as truth.

The state may have 1 billion

By on

The state may have 1 billion in the bank, but it owes far more than that to creditors.

Then almost everyone is bankrupt.

By on

Is the Commonwealth unable to service that debt? On the contrary, it is perfectly able to do so.

The implication of your implied definition of bankrupt is that a huge portion of natural persons, and most juristic persons (public and private) would be considered bankrupt. That is a nonsensical view held by, among others, people who hoard gold for when the "end comes" (as if it's going to do any good - unless they've also developed a way to chew and digest it).

Should we be solving some of the structural issues with the budget (particularly w/r/t transporation)? Absolutely. However, using terms like "bankrupt" to describe the state's fiscal condition is inaccurate, unhelpful and feeds the kind of b.s. political grandstanding that prevents us from actually addressing such matters like sophisticated adults.

I think..

By on

I think my point is we're looking at state budget cuts everywhere (and folks this is FACT..not spin) and the city wants to waste money on water fountains.. please.

Sorry about that, cybah.

By on

Understood, and sorry for getting a bit hot there. I had just come out of a conversation with comments like the anon after me put up. I realize that at its core your point was one about allocation, which, of course, is perfectly reasonable.

I for one

By on

Would love to exercise more but... so thirsty...

Comments, comments everywhere

Imagine if any one of you actually did something more productive when an issue comes up, like attend a council meeting or call your councilor or testify.