What is Vended Water?
Vended water is water for drinking, culinary, or other purposes involving the likelihood of being ingested by humans that is dispensed or supplied from a: 1) water vending machine 2) retail water facility or store 3) private water source 4) water hauler. Vended water does not include; water placed in sealed containers by bottlers (see bottled water) or water derived from a public water system that has not undergone additional treatment. Water vending machines and retail water facilities must display, in a position clearly visible to customers, the fact that their source water is obtained from an approved public water supply.
How often is vended water tested?
The law requires vended water be tested as follows: Water vending machine operators are required to test their water for coliform bacteria at least once every 6 months. If purified water is dispensed, dissolved solids must be measured not less frequently than once every 7 days. The required testing must be performed: 1) at a laboratory certified for the particular analysis by the California Department of Public Health’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). A list of certified laboratories near you can be downloaded at the ELAP website.
Water Vending Machines
May an operator of a Water Vending Machine or a Retail Water Facility (or retail water store) bottle water?
No. Water vending machine (WVM) operators or retail water facility (RWF) operators are not allowed to bottle water because WVMs and RWFs are not water bottling plants. A WVM is a water-connected vending machine designed to dispense drinking, purified, or other water products. This machine must be designed to reduce or remove turbidity, off-tastes, and odors and provide disinfection treatment. Processes for removal or reduction of dissolved solids must be used. A RWF is any commercial establishment where vended water is sold and placed in the containers of a customer, who come to the establishment to obtain water.
May an operator of a Water Vending Machine or a Retail Water Facility deliver his or her water to a customer’s home or office?
No. The law does not allow operators of WVMs or RWFs to deliver water to their customers’ homes or offices. WVMs and RWFs have been classified by law, as a device or a commercial establishment, to which customers bring their containers to obtain vended water.
May a Retail Water Facility operator clean and/or sanitize customers’ containers?
RWF operators should not clean and/or sanitize their customers’ containers on their premises. It is the customer’s responsibility to bring clean containers to a RWF to obtain vended water.
Must licensed water vending machine operators provide information regarding their water vending machines in electronic format?
Yes. California Health and Safety Code Section 111130 (c) requires that, beginning January 1, 2008, an applicant for renewal of a water vending machine operator license provide to FDB, in electronic format, the serial number of each machine and the street address, city, Zip code, and county where the machine is located. A model form can be obtained at:
What are the requirements for cleaning and sanitizing water vending machines?
California Health and Safety Code Section 111115 (a) and 111170(b), requires that, beginning January 1, 2009:
Water vending machines be cleaned, serviced, and sanitized in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications at least once every 30 days. The maintenance records (for cleaning, servicing, sanitizing) be kept for every visit made by either the operator or the maintenance personnel. These records must show the date and time of the visit, any tests performed, any maintenance performed, and the signature or electronic signature of the operator or maintenance personnel. The records must be kept by the owner of the water-vending machine for a minimum of two years and shall be made available to FDB upon request. In addition, a sign or label indicating the date on which the water vending machine was last sanitized and serviced (both in English and Spanish) must be displayed in a position clearly visible to customers.
Must licensed water vending machine operators keep a record of consumer complaints?
Yes. California Health and Safety Code Section 111115 (a), requires that a record of any consumer complaints be kept on file with the owner of the water-vending machine for a minimum of two years, and must be made available to FDB upon request.
Must licensed water vending machine operators affix a decal to indicate that a license fee has been paid?
Yes. California Health and Safety Code Section 111130 (d), states that it is the duty of water vending operator or owner to affix a valid decal in a prominent place to each water vending machine in service. The decal will indicate that a license fee has been paid for the current year.
What information must licensed water vending machine operators display on their water vending machines
California Health and Safety Code Section 111170 (c), requires that, beginning January 1, 2009, each vending machine display in a position clearly visible to customers the following information, both in English and Spanish:
1. The name and address of the operator.
2. The fact that the water is obtained from an approved public water supply or licensed private water source.
3. A statement describing the treatment process used. If no treatment process is utilized, a statement to that effect.
4. A toll-free telephone number or a local telephone number within the area code in which the machine is located that may be called for further information, service, or complaints, and the toll-free telephone number of the department's food and drug branch that may be called for complaints or questions.
5. A sign or label indicating the date on which the water-vending machine was last sanitized and serviced by the operator or maintenance personnel.
6. A notice to consumers listing the industry's recommendations for the type and condition of container suitable for use with the water-vending machine.
7. A valid decal or seal received from the department indicating that a license fee has been paid and a license issued for the water-vending machine.