The West Virginia Senate passed a bill requiring newly constructed public schools and public schools with major improvements to have water bottle filling stations.

The bill passed the Senate 26-3 with 5 absent votes.

The bill says the station must fill a bottle with water, the station may be integrated into a drinking fountain and it must be a touchless station.

There also must be one filling station on each floor and wing of the public school buildings with at least one water filling station in school service areas and near gyms and outdoor learning/ activity areas including playgrounds.

The bill defines a major project as increasing the square footage of a school by more than 5,000 square feet; or any renovations or upgrades to a school with a cost greater than $500,000 where plumbing work constitutes more than 20 percent of the project’s construction cost.

The state board would require existing public schools buildings undergoing a major improvement to include a minimum of half of the facility’s existing water coolers being retrofitted or replaced to provide water bottle filling capability and be made ADA compliant. Pending the availability of a water supply line and sanitary plumbing