Zach Taylor started working for the city as its wellness specialist through a grant program.
One of the things he was tasked to find out was how to make Clearwater more physically fit.
“In some of the research, retrofitting fountains with fillers is a starting trend in wellness,” Taylor said.
So the idea was to make cold, drinkable water, easier to access. The solution, so far, has been found in a retrofit kit for the city’s drinking water fountains.
“It’s cool-looking. It’s novel and innovative,” Taylor said.
The apparatus fills the bottles twice as fast as traditional fountains. It also has a digital display showing an estimate of how many bottles of water were filled using the device. In the process, it also helps reduce plastic bottle waste.
There are 20 of the bottle fillers being installed around town. The estimated cost is $1,000 to $1,500 depending on the unit, Taylor said. Many of the fountains are being funded through the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, which also pays for Taylor's position.
The fillers have recently been installed on fountains at Ross Norton Recreation Center, , , the , Moccasin Lake Nature Park, the , and .
The city also bought the fillers for fountains used by city employees as well as hundreds of steel bottles to fill with water.
Taylor is excited by the early results.
At the about 150 bottles daily are saved from being thrown in the trash. About 100 bottles are at Countryside Recreation Center, where the fillers have only been installed a few weeks.
“It just starts adding up really fast,” Taylor said. “And those are tangible numbers you can show the proof.”