In early 2017, ZSL London Zoo took what was then a pioneering decision to tackle waste plastic on site. One of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing more than a million visitors annually, the organisation couldn’t reconcile its sustainability work with the sheer amount of waste the zoo generated. Looking for ways to both cut down on plastic consumption and provide a new service for its visitors, ZSL London Zoo contacted MIW Water Cooler Experts to assist with a project to bring free public drinking water facilities to the site.
The team at ZSL London Zoo had a very strong idea of what they required from both the project and the new equipment to be installed on site. MIW’s role was to supply the following:
Advice upon the logistics of installing public water dispensers around ZSL London Zoo, including placement, groundworks and accessibility.
To identify equipment that would deliver all of the zoo’s prerequisites, including accessibility, ease of use, durability and vandal resistance.
Working with the public, the organisation needed to be certain that all equipment installed would comply with strict water authority guidelines and UK Government health and safety policies.
Once appropriate equipment had been identified, MIW would advise for its safe installation, with as little on-site disruption as possible.
Post-installation, MIW would be required to service and maintain the units, providing all relevant ongoing aftercare.
There were two main challenges with this project. The first being to identify the necessary equipment. In 2017, the demand for outdoor bottle fillers for large scale public use was relatively small in the UK. Consequently, the range of equipment available to meet ZSL London Zoo’s requirements was limited. Through collaboration with MIW’s global partner Elkay, the team were able to source and install one of the UK’s first Halsey Taylor Endura range bottle refill stations. These have since gone on to become one of the most popular outdoor drinking fountain ranges available. Made from heavy gauge stainless steel and e-coated for additional protection, the units are incredibly hard-wearing. The hands-free operation both reduces the opportunity for vandalism and makes the bottle fillers extremely easy to use. They are wheelchair accessible. And WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) approved specifically to appeal to a UK audience, the refill stations are guaranteed to comply with all health and safety standards.
The second challenge was to install the units with minimal disruption to both the public and the zoo’s residents. Locations were identified that would expose the bottle refill stations to the greatest amount of potential use, but would not be a threat to the animal’s wellbeing. Working out of hours and with guidance from MIW the zoo’s Project Management Team were able to organise an installation schedule that caused the least possible disturbance to all concerned.
The Completed Project
MIW Water Cooler Experts supplied Halsey Taylor bottle refills stations across the ZSL London Zoo site. Throughout the process, the MIW team worked closely with project managers to understand their exact needs and ensure that the machines supplied were suitable for the allotted locations. The zoo’s technical division also had to be consulted throughout to guarantee health and safety compliance.
The original project was completed on schedule and within budget. MIW continues to work with ZSL London Zoo, maintaining the bottle refill stations as required.