Drinking water in schools: hygiene standards at fountains
In July 2000 a study was undertaken into the facilities offered for drinking water at 54 schools in North Yorkshire. The work also looked at hygiene standards at drinking water fountains and whether they could pose any risk of contamination to children using them. The results showed the standard of facilities offered to children at schools varied considerably. In most schools the main provision for drinking water was from coldwater taps in school toilets. The next most popular option was drinking water fountains. A visual hygiene assessment of the fountains revealed that many of the fountains in toilets were not well maintained or clean. Traditional hygiene swabs taken from 47 fountains in 17 schools gave high bacterial colony counts, above what would be expected on a facility used for obtaining a drink of water. The main conclusion of the study was that school toilets are not an ideal type of environment for obtaining drinking water and better facilities need to be offered to children.