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Hackney Borough Council

Hackney London Borough Council and MIW

In early 2019, Hackney Borough Council began the process of assessing its public drinking water facilities. With growing public interest in the reduction of single-use plastics and a manifesto commitment to improve the borough’s sustainability programme and environmental procedures, council members voted to invest in the installation of a series of new public-facing bottle fillers and drinking fountains throughout Hackney. Having witnessed MIW Water Cooler Experts’ work with the GLA and in other London boroughs, the council approached the MIW team for advice on the project.

The Brief

Hackney Borough Council’s public water dispenser programme is thought to be the most ambitious of any council in the country so far. With the aim of more than tripling its existing provision before May 2022, the council’s Project Management Team tasked MIW with project completion.

  • MIW’s initial role in this project was to provide guidance. Both upon the specification and logistics of sourcing and installing 26 bottle fillers and/or drinking fountains.
  • Once the project had been confirmed, it was MIW’s role to identify, source, customise and install water dispensers suited to the council’s specifications including bespoke painting and livery.
  • The project dictated that there must be equipment options available for both indoor and outdoor locations. Both of which must be durable, low-maintenance, user-friendly, and vandal-resistant. It was also imperative that the dispensers should be accessible to as wide a number of users as possible, including the less able and wheelchair users.
  • The bottle fillers must also be fully compliant with stringent water authority and Government health and safety guidelines.
  • Throughout the undertaking, MIW would work closely with the Hackney Borough Council Project Management Team to advise upon site logistics, collaborate upon equipment customisation and coordinate an installation timetable.
  • Post-installation, it would be MIW’s responsibility to provide ongoing support and aftersales, including equipment maintenance, servicing and scheduled sanitisation visits.

The Process

The priority with this project was to find the best equipment suited to the client’s needs. With both indoor and outdoor sites being catered for, each piece of equipment has been selected on a location-by-location basis. As a point of pride, MIW only works with WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) approved equipment. This means that that the relevant health and safety guarantees were in place with all units. The challenge was to find equipment that could both answer all of the council’s other needs and be customised and branded to the same standard prior to installation.

As the project has developed, MIW has successfully worked with the Hackney Borough Council Project Management Team to understand the requirements of each site, conducting pre-installation site inspections and overseeing any necessary technical equipment upgrades.

As this is an evolving project, which will continue over a number of years, the MIW team has been required to work with flexibility, adding to and amending timetables as the client’s needs dictate.

The Project Continues

The first three of Hackney’s new bottle fillers were installed by MIW before the end of 2019. Sited in Dalston CLR James Library, Hackney Marshes Pavilion and Mabley Green – areas with high levels of single-use plastic consumption – the units have already been embraced by the public. A further seven high footfall areas (Clapton Library, Hackney Marshes Centre, Broadway Market, London Fields Lido, Clissold Leisure Centre, Homerton Library, Shoreditch Library) have since been identified by Hackney Borough Council, and an installation timetable has been drawn up in collaboration with MIW.

This is a project set to continue until May 2022. In the intervening period, MIW will continue to work closely with the Hackney Borough Council Project Management Team to help identify further potential sites for the additional water dispensers. And to ensure that all equipment is customised and installed to an agreed timetable. Beyond that point, MIW will continue to service, sanitise and maintain all 26 water dispensers, and provide any additional support that the council might need.