VENTNOR – The unification of Downbeach green teams qualified them to apply for a Sustainable Jersey Regional Hub Grant for innovative projects. The Ventnor City Green Team, Sustainable Margate and Sustainable Longport learned last week that their $4,700 “hub” grant was approved, according Ventnor green team Chairwoman Diane Birkbeck.
The towns collaborated on a project that will benefit all three communities by reducing the number of plastic water bottles that make it into the waste stream, or worse yet, into Absecon Island’s fragile marine environment.
Birkbeck said the group is currently designing signage for a WaterWall portable reusable water bottle refilling station that can be used at Downbeach community events. The unit filters tap water for festival goers to refill their reusable water bottles.
“The only connection needed is to a garden hose,” Birkbeck said. “It will greatly reduce the number of plastic water bottles being used at these events.”
The green teams will work through the winter months to promote its usage at community events by approved groups or others who may want to reserve the unit.
“We need an IT professional to come up with an online procedure to reserve it and have a calendar of annual events, but other people can use it if it’s available,” she said.
Birkbeck said it will take six to eight weeks to manufacture the unit and have it delivered.
“After the holidays, we will start promoting its usage by community groups and let them know how to reserve it,” she said.
The unit can be used indoors or outdoors, comes with five replacement filters that are expected to last five years, and is small enough to easily transport to event locations. It will be stored at Ventnor City Firehouse No. 1.
“Someone is there 24-7, so it will be easy to pick up and return,” she said.
While the unit will be fully funded by the grant, fundraisers are planned to raise the money needed to replace filters, she said.
Half of the grant award will be forwarded to CFO Toro Aboderin on Nov. 1. The city will fund the remaining 50 percent, but will be reimbursed when the grant is closed out, Birkbeck said.
Towns along the Mullica River, including Absecon, Galloway Township, Egg Harbor City, Mullica Township and Hammonton were awarded a $3,950 regional hub grant to create an educational campaign and an outreach program for the Mullica River Watershed. Galloway Township is the lead agency on the Friends Along the Mullica River project.