Test Boca’s Mobile Water Chilling Station At Next City Event

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Staff report

Boca’s Utility Department recently designed and constructed a mobile water chilling station to provide cold, city tap water for residents and visitors at city events without using any electricity.

This prototype is a collaborative effort to promote sustainability and reduce the use of plastic, specifically at city events where the water station will be used. The city is encouraging event-goers to bring their own refillable bottles rather than purchase plastic water bottles.

“City of Boca Raton tap water is better, safer, sustainable and of high quality,” said Chris Helfrich, Utility Services Director. “The MARS is an innovative unit that will provide our residents with cold, clean, safe water and reduce the use of bottled water. Utility Services wants to provide a convenient way for our residents to experience our tap water outside their homes.”

We reached out to the department with our questions on the new station. Here is what we learned:

  1. Who came up with the idea?

The City of Boca Raton Utility Department created a smaller version of MARS approximately 5 years ago. This cooler size version with a single tap was used for City staff functions and other smaller events. Recently (July) City Council suggested a larger version to reduce bottle usage in the City. City staff began brainstorming about a City of Boca Raton cold refreshing water tap system that could be used in larger setting. In addition to the cold tap water, we also wanted to send an environmental/sustainable message on reduction of plastic bottles and creating an awareness program.

  1. How long did it take to develop?

We designed and constructed the unit is less than 6 weeks.

  1. How much did it cost? 

Utility Services had requested a cost (over $20,000) from an outside vendor for construction of the MARS. We were able to construct the unit with internal staff for less than $10,000.

  1. How does it work? We understand it doesn’t use electricity- elaborate.

The MARS is a mobile unit that is easily hooked up to any city of Boca Raton water service. The unit is constructed of a stainless steel frame and heavily insulated for cooling of the water. Ice and water keep the copper coils cold for the refreshing 45 degree water. No electricity is needed to use MARS. Field tests have shown that flowing water from the tap will stay below 40 degrees for over 8 hours.

  1. Where will see it in December?

The MARS unit will be scheduled for use at signature City Events.