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The members of the Environment Committee of the Berkshire Women's Action Group (from left): Anni Crofut, Wendy Kleinman, Marcia Arland, Marj Wexler and Jennifer Clark. Photo courtesy Berkshire Women's Action Group

GB on Tap update: Bylaw enforcement and water stations

By Saturday, Apr 13, 2019 Life In the Berkshires 18

A proposed Elkay water station. Photo courtesy Berkshire Women’s Action Group

We, the Environment Committee of the Berkshire Women’s Action Group, are pleased to update the public on our recent work. The plastic water bottle bylaw is currently in effect.

Although the original enforcement date was set for May 1, 2019, the selectboard changed the date to May 2020. However, selectboard Chair Steve Bannon said that date will be reviewed once the three new water stations are operational sometime this summer.

The selectboard urges businesses throughout town to proactively comply if they have not yet done so. Bannon says, “It is our hope and expectation that our business community is already complying with this new bylaw, with support from our citizens.”

A GB on Tap refillable water bottle. Photo courtesy Berkshire Women’s Action Group

In March, the selectboard gave the go-ahead to the Department of Public Works to purchase and install the first three water stations. The models chosen have both a bottle filler and a bubbler. They are state-of-the-art and hygienic, with a superior design that prevents contamination from other users, airborne deposits and tampering.

The three installation sites — Town Hall, Mason Library, and Housy Dome – were chosen in careful coordination with the DPW. Each is town-owned property, and the appropriate water pipes for the equipment to hook into exist in these locations. Filtration is advisable only in Housatonic, where residents are periodically concerned about water quality.

A GB on Tap decal on front windows of businesses. Image courtesy Berkshire Women’s Action Group

All monies for the water stations and for the first year of maintenance of the equipment have been raised privately by the Environment Committee. Great Barrington town treasurer Karen Fink has established the Water Station Fund for the purpose of accepting all donations for the stations. Housatonic Water Works has generously volunteered to pay for the water used at the Housy Dome unit.

It is also our goal to work with the town to replace or upgrade existing water fountains on the public ballfields. Please consider donating to the GB Water Station Fund. All contributions will be greatly appreciated. Click here to learn how to donate.

In addition, we are pleased that 28 GB on Tap retailers and eateries in town have agreed to fill customers’ reusable water bottles upon request. These establishments display the GB on Tap decal.

Please visit our website, GBonTap.org, where you will find extensive information about the bylaw, the GB on Tap program, and information about the plastic waste that is clogging and damaging our environment for hundreds of years to come.