Water Bottle Filling Stations Project

Scott County, Tennessee

Scott County is situated atop the Cumberland Plateau in the western foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The county is bordered by the Cumberland Mountains to the east and the rugged Big South Fork Recreation Area to its west. Scott County community leaders and residents take great pride in their schools, and Scott County economic development and school executives work closely together to insure that all students are successful.

After a student was disciplined for carrying around and refilling a 2-liter soft drink bottle with water and realizing that the only alternative to sugary soft drinks that were purchased from vending machines was bottled water brought from home, Scott County Chamber and IDB leaders researched how they could provide a healthy alternative for their students. They determined that purchasing water bottle filling stations for each school throughout the county and the Boys and Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau, as well as purchasing each student a reusable water bottle, was the solution.

In 2017, the Scott County IDB received approval for ThreeStar grant funding for the project with the goal to offer a free alternative to sugary sodas throughout the school day. This strategy addressed health, economic development and workforce development pillars of the ThreeStar program. TNECD grant funds were initially intended to purchase 9 filling stations and reusable water bottles for all K-12 students.  

Scott County IDB project leaders were the first in Tennessee to organize a project of this type and school and community leaders saw the benefit and wanted to expand the impact. The Scott County Recycling and Litter Center provided funding to purchase every student a reusable water bottle, freeing up ThreeStar grant funding for the purchase of the additional water filling stations. Several community partners including local industries, the county government and higher education providers stepped forward, and the purchase of additional water filling stations was made possible.

Through the ThreeStar grant and other community contributions, Scott County was able to purchase 23 water bottle filling stations to place in every school in Scott County along with the Boys & Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau, Roane State Community College, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology in Oneida and Huntsville, the Scott County Jail, and four of the county’s largest industries. Since September 2017, the majority of the county’s workforce employed in manufacturing has been provided access to free water and at one school alone over 16,000 bottles of water have been filled through the stations.

Community Impact

Water bottle filling stations have become a must-have in public schools, but tight budgets prevent many school systems from being able to install them. The benefits of water filling stations include free and safe water for students whose parents cannot afford to supply them with bottled water on a daily basis, reducing sickness in schools from water fountain use, reducing the number of plastic bottles disposed of in landfills, and decreasing the consumption of sugary drinks. First year program results include   

School Stations Installed 13
Higher Education Stations Installed 3
Community Facility Stations Installed 2
Industry Stations Installed 5
Student Water Bottles Purchased 4,500
School Students Served 4200+
Community Facility Users Served 200 + plus daily traffic from justice center 
Industry Employees Served 1200+
Total Community Organizations Involved 25 (schools, higher education centers, local governments, agencies, industries) 

Project Funding

TNECD ThreeStar Grant (water bottle filling stations) $25,000
Scott County Recycle/Litter Center Grant (water bottles for every student)  $4,000
Scott County Schools In-Kind Contribution (installation and maintenance)   $12,000
Scott County Industries Cash Contributions  (water bottle filling stations) $5,000
TOTAL WATER BOTTLE FILLING STATION PROJECT FUNDING (Includes community and industry contributions, grants, in-kind funding) $46,000

Program Leadership and Partners

The Industrial Board of Scott County – Director – Program Contact
Scott County Chamber of Commerce
Scott County Mayor’s Office
Town of Huntsville
Town of Oneida
Town of Winfield
Scott County School System
Scott County Recycling/Litter Center
Scott County Justice Center
Takahata Precision America
Great Dane Trailers
Tennier Industries
Container Technologies Industries
JDS Technologies
United Cumberland Bank
Roane State Community College
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Oneida
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Huntsville
Healthier Tennessee
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

For more project information visit the Scott County Chamber of Commerce.  

TNECD ThreeStar Program

The ThreeStar Program is designed to focus on the Governor’s five pillars of Community Development: Jobs & Economic Development, Fiscal Strength & Efficient Government, Public Safety, Education & Workforce Development and Health & Welfare. ThreeStar grants help communities increase the impact of a successful project focused on the five pillars and are supported by the Governor’s Rural Task Force and Tennessee Rural Economic Opportunity Act of 2016 and 2017.

For more information visit the TNECD Community and Rural Development.