Problems With Water Cooler Drip Trays – Is there another solution?

Is your water cooler drip tray continually overflowing?

Mains fed filtered water coolers are plumbed in from the mains water supply and they are designed to dispense chilled drinking water into 7oz or 9oz plastic cups. Most are fitted with small drip trays which are designed to catch approximately 100ml of waste water but is this big enough for a large office location and is there an alternative to repeat visits to empty them out into the nearest sink? Are you experiencing problems with water cooler drip trays – is there another solution?

Once you’ve chosen a location inside your office for your new water cooler you’re unlikely to give much consideration as to where you plan to empty the waste water inside the drip tray once it’s full. During “standard use” with plastic cups there should be no real requirement to empty the units drip tray more than once or twice per day but have you noticed that you’re emptying it more often than you anticipated? If this is the case then there’s probably a few members of staff re-using small plastic mineral water bottles throughout the day. Not only can the use of these bottles cause hygiene issues with saliva transfer from bottle to tap but due to their thin necks which are notoriously difficult to fill they can also be responsible for overflowing drip trays. A tray which is constantly full of stagnant water can cause biofilm build up which leads to unsavoury smells but fortunately there is a solution.

There are a few water coolers designs which have attempted to deal with this issue and we’ve listed what we think are the best three options below:

A Mains Fed Drinking Water Fountain.

A fit for purpose plumbed in Water Fountain is most suitable for Gyms, Schools & Colleges. This type of water dispenser is fixed to permanent 32mm plastic drain. Fountains are normally floor standing and stainless steel in appearance and are equipped with a small stainless steel sink and a small plughole. They are a firm favourite for Schools and Gyms because their “cup fillers” can fill up large sports bottles with ease and by using the fitted “bubbler” users can even take drink without a container to hand. Connected to a permanent drain these types of unit can be perfectly fit for purpose but they must be wiped clean every single day with antibacterial wipes.


Pros:      A perfect solution for schools, they’ll drain away all day with no need to empty.

Cons:     They’ll need wiping down with anti-bacterial wipes every single day. They also have exposed dispensing areas so bacterial transfer can still be an issue.

The Borg and Overstrom Water Cooler (CW698)

The Borg & Overstrom CW698 is a classic water cooler which can be viewed here. This has been available since early 2000 and it still proves to be a firm favourite for offices across the U.K. You may already have one of these coolers installed and you’ll probably be happy to know that the drains can be retrofitted. The floor standing CW698 can be supplied with a drip tray kit which can turn the standard drip tray into a 3 gallon soak away. This simply uses the space inside the bottom of the unit to store a large container. The drain hose is connected at the rear of the front panel with a flexible pipe which leads to the container, hidden away inside the water cooler. The container holds around 3 gallons and can be emptied as and when required.


Pros: Looks great in the office. A classic cooler with contemporary styling. A more hygienic option than a fountain.

Cons: There’s a need to bend down and filling sports bottles can be difficult.

The Borg & Overstrom Elite Water Cooler (CW798)

The Elite Water Cooler is a more contemporary cooler built on the foundation of the CW698 with sleeker looks and a more hygienic push button dispense. For those who think aesthetics are important but only require the throughput of a standard office water cooler (approx. 12 litres per hour) this this model could be for you. It has a larger dispensing area than the CW698 and also sports a built in cup dispenser. The drip tray drainage kit on the CW798 is the same kit fitted to the CW698 and works perfectly well, also hidden neatly away inside the bottom of the unit.


Pros: If looks are important in your office and you need a drain then this one is perfect. Also deals with the hygiene issues associated with bacteria transfer.

Cons: It’s dispensing area is bigger than the CW698 so there’s room for a sports bottle – but you’ll still need to bend down.

Need to read more about the Elite, then read here.

Arctic Chill Water Cooler

The Arctic Chill water cooler is a high use water cooler which is capable of producing up to 40 litres of chilled water per hour. It’s also equipped with a high dispense point so there’s little need to bend down. Not only can it be fitted with drip tray drainage but there’s no requirement to remove the drain container to empty it as it’s fitted with it’s very own drainage tap – simply take a bucket to the cooler, drain the container and empty the contents away.

The manufacturer of the Arctic Chill Water Coolers has recently introduced a mains drainage kit. This cooler, which is now bream compliant will enable the Artic Chill to compete with water fountains in schools on a more hygienic footing. There is also a cowling available for this model, which allows the cooler to be strapped to the wall whilst hiding away the plumbing work.

The Arctic Chill water cooler has a single dispense head so it can’t produce ambient water but there’s another benefit, the dispensing area is huge, easily big enough for re-fillable sports bottles.


Pros: A high use cooler perfect for more office staff but equally at home in a school corridor and more hygienic than a fountain too. Can be strapped to the wall, a vast improvement compared to most water coolers which are currently marketed for school use.

Cons: Only produces chilled water.

Need to read more about the Elite, then read here.’’ & ‘’Need to read more about the Arctic Chill, then visit here.