These machines are becoming a common sight, but how can you be sure that the water they sell is safe to drink? State and local health authorities regulate minimum public health standards, but national standards are also important. This article will cover quality control, costs, and regulations. Hopefully, this article will be useful in your search for a freshwater vending machine.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulates the operation and placement of a fresh water vending machine. Water vending machines must be located in areas easily accessible to health inspectors. Vending machines must also be placed on floors with proper drainage. Floor drains must be enclosed in a trap to prevent the water from running off. All vended water must meet minimum public health standards and be free from lead, cadmium, and bacteria.
The Department of Health (DOH) has approved certain disinfection methods for drinking water vending machines. These methods include ultraviolet light and a chemical process. A sign must also include the operator’s name and a local phone number. Signs must be prominently displayed and visible to the consumer. Moreover, the machine must display a service log and a scheduled maintenance schedule. Depending on the vending machine’s location, it must be installed in a room with a tight-fitting ceiling and walls.
Many states require that operators of water vending machines obtain licenses or permits before operating their vending machines. These regulations cover a wide range of issues, including the health and safety of the water they sell. In addition to requiring permits, many states also require operators to notify the local health department about where they intend to place their machines. In addition to obtaining a license, operators must file a detailed plan with the Board to ensure that their water vending machines meet health and safety standards.
To obtain a water vending machine permit, applicants must apply for the State Health Officer. The application must include the following details: written servicing instructions for the operator, the technical manuals for the machine, and regular service visits. Once the application is approved, the State Health Officer must issue the permit within a reasonable timeframe. Water vending machine permits are valid for one year and may be revoked or canceled.
While the FDA and the EPA have enforced severe drinking water regulations, California’s Health and Safety Code compels vending machine operators to inspect, maintain, and sterilize their machines to guarantee safety for the public to ingest. Additionally, the state requires that licensed WVMs undergo bacteriological analyses every six months. In addition, the Department of Environmental Health regularly inspects vending machines for microbial and chemical contamination.
For instance, a 1999 statewide survey in California showed that drinking water from vending machines was contaminated with coliform bacteria, a sign of a potentially contaminated source. A select panel of indicator bacteria and real-time qPCR were used to analyze the samples to assess the water’s quality. In addition, the California Department of Public Health requires vending machines to display a NAMA Service Mark that indicates compliance with its Standard. Twenty-two vending machine manufacturers participated in this voluntary certification program in 1992.
Retail strip centers are prime locations for ice and water vending machines. These locations have validated sales potential and are popular with customers. Retail strip centers attract different crowds at different times, so the ice and water vending machine should be located in an area where customers will most likely find it. It also should be easy to find and not require patrons to walk far to find it.
Indoor water vending has become a popular trend over the past five years—both the retailer and the consumer benefit from vending machines. Consumers can pay at the point of purchase, and the machines also serve as an excellent way to promote the use of reusable water containers. Retailers also have an incentive to promote the use of these machines, as they save landfill space. Freshwater vending machines also benefit the environment.
The concept of water vending is easy: customers fill their bottles and use them to purchase clean, purified water. It provides convenient 24-hour access for customers. Many water stores are small but quickly hire additional staff as the business grows. A vending machine in a storefront can help alleviate hiring additional staff and cut labor costs. Water vending machines also come with sterilizers inside the store, increasing store traffic and generating additional sales.
One consideration in purchasing a water vending machine is how many different sizes are available. A 5-gallon water dispenser will probably turn off customers who want smaller containers. Also, mechanical coin mechanisms are expensive in the long run. Most inexpensive models only accept one denomination of coin, and dollar coins are becoming more common. Consider investing in a machine that accepts more than one coin denomination to avoid this problem.