The Evanston Utilities Department has unveiled its new mobile hydration station as a way to encourage residents to stay hydrated at outdoor events this summer while recognizing the important community resource that is represented by water.

Designed and fabricated by the Utilities Department, the hydration station was built this spring and was unveiled during the city’s Fourth of July festivities at Ackerman Park. The station will be at gatherings throughout the city this summer and at the Evanston Green Living Festival and Bike the Ridge events in the fall.

The station includes six separate sinks fitted with water bottle-filling faucets or drinking fountains. A 250-gallon water storage tank underneath the station is filled at the Evanston Water Plant before being delivered to its destination, giving the station more flexible mobility.

Utilities Director Dave Stoneback says the new system cost the city about $7,000 to build, including the cost of the trailer it’s mounted on.

He says that the city used to borrow a similar water trailer from the  Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association. That one, Stoneback said, could be hooked up to a fire hydrant to supply the water, but in hot weather the hose sitting in the sun would warm up the water making it less palatable.

With the new trailer, Stoneback says, the crew can add ice to the water tank before leaving the water plant to keep the water cool.

The department contends that drinking tap water, as opposed to bottled water, is safer, cheaper, and better for the environment.

The water itself comes right out of Lake Michigan into the water treatment plant, ensuring that the water you drink meets strict water quality standards from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and is rigorously tested and monitored, costing residents less than a penny per gallon, vs. a dollar or more for bottled water that is often transported hundreds or thousands of miles away from a bottling plant.

Nevertheless, the city encourages residents to conserve water by taking shorter showers and by sweeping debris from sidewalks and driveways, rather than hosing them down.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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