How State Plumbing Codes Can Increase Access to Drinking Water in Schools

How State Plumbing Codes Can Increase Access to Drinking Water in Schools

A Fact Sheet for Advocates

Drinking fountains are making a comeback. Many institutions – colleges, hospitals, airports, and schools – recognize the environmental and health benefits of making clean water free and easily accessible. Schools, in particular, understand the importance of providing children with water as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks and bottled beverages.

State and federal school nutrition policies have done a lot to make a healthier mix of bottled beverages available to students during the school day, but drinking water infrastructure in schools continues to lag behind. Many schools need to upgrade aging plumbing systems to ensure drinking fountains offer safe, toxin-free water.

This resource describes how child health advocates can use state plumbing codes to modernize school drinking water infrastructure. It also provides an overview of how to use data about school facilities to inform the policy change process, and includes examples of key provisions that can optimize water access in schools.

To learn more, see our related fact sheet on increasing water access in schools and our model wellness policy language on water access.