Field Notes: Take Back the Tap!



To: Bluedot Living

From: Vineyard Conservation Society

Subject: Take Back the Tap!

The Vineyard Conservation Society has been working to make fresh potable tap water more readily available on the Island by installing water bottle refill stations. These stations reduce the need for plastic water bottles. So far we have saved thousands of plastic water bottles from the waste stream here on the Island.

VCS Bottle Refill Station Background

Beginning in the fall of 2015, we began working with the MVRHS environmental club to install a refill station in the high school. From there we gained momentum and with the help of a generous donor looked to all the schools on the Island with the purpose of installing at least one unit in each school. After many meetings, letters to administration, and haggling with plumbers, we finally installed the last school unit at the end of 2017. Although it was a great accomplishment, it was more like the first of many stages in our TBT (Take Back the Tap) initiative! The second stage was to be all non-school public buildings, mainly those that serve children. We are still somewhat in phase 2, while also delving into stage 3 — mostly outdoor locations (parks, community centers, downtowns, etc.). We aim to create a network of refill stations on MV that will cover every town, public building, transportation hub, and tourist destination! Currently there are over 25 working units all over the Island. More are going in each month!


Plastic Free MV has successfully banned plastic water and soda bottles in all of the six Island towns. Enforcement has been an issue, and we feel the more public refill stations we can provide to the public, the easier it is to comply.

MV Tap Map

We have created a Google map with all of the working, in-process, and wish-list locations of the refill stations. The MV Tap Map is an interactive map that can be accessed at our website by scanning the QR code on our decals and PFMV water bottles, or on the TrailsMV app. See the MV Tap Map here:

Building the Refill Station Network

Collectively with the installation of refill stations, VCS is asking businesses to participate in the “Take Back the Tap” initiative. Participating in the initiative could look like a self-serve dispenser, staff trained to fill a customer’s reusable water bottle, or purchasing and installing a refill unit. Participating businesses will be highlighted on the Vineyard Conservation Society website and MV Tap Map. A decal is available for businesses to display their support for this initiative. This is just getting back up and running post Covid regulations.

Here’s where you can donate:

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