How can drinking fountains be made accessible?


Drinking fountains are required to be accessible by those with disabilities, and their locations shall be clearly indicated by the proper ADA compliant signage. Drinking fountains cannot be in the path of travel and must be inside an alcove or have rails on either side to ensure the drinking fountain is not a trip hazard for those with visual disabilities. The drinking fountains must have both a high- and a low-height drinking fountain with the low drinking fountain having a spout height no higher than 36 inches from the finished floor.


All drinking fountains must have a knee-space clearance from the bottom of the apron to the finished floor below of at least 27 inches in height, 30 inches in width and 17 to 19 inches in depth. A 30-by-48-inch clear floor space is required to allow a wheelchair to face the drinking fountain when in use. A minimum of 9 inches of clear space is required at the bottom of the drinking fountain apron to the finished floor to allow a wheelchair to comfortably roll underneath.


All drinking fountains shall have controls in the front or on the side. The controls must be operable with one hand. They should be able to be activated with a force of no more than 5-pounds-per-foot and should not require any tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist. This means the controls should either be a push button or a lever type of control that does not require a lot of force to use.


 Posted by Sheri Abrams, Attorney at Law,

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