T.

12-22-93

JAN 3 1994

Mr. Richard W. Church President Plumbing Manufacturers Institute 800 Roosevelt Road Building C, Suite 20 Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137-5833 Dear Mr. Church: This letter responds to your correspondence regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to drinking fountains. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance and information to individuals and entities who have questions about the Act or the Department's Standards for Accessible Design (Standards). This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding and complying with the ADA accessibility standards. However, this technical assistance should not be viewed as legal advice or a legal opinion about your rights or responsibilities under the ADA. The answers to the questions in your letter of September 2, 1993, appear below in like order. In the interest of conciseness, rather than repeat each question, we enclose a copy of your letter for your reference. A. You asked for an explanation of the requirement that the water flow be within three inches of the front edge of a fountain with a round or oval bowl. Recent innovations in the design of drinking fountains forced the inclusion of this requirement because many individuals who use wheelchairs found it impossible to lean far enough over the projecting rim of large bowl fountains to take a drink even when the fountain was otherwise in compliance with the requirements in the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards or the ANSI A117.1 Standard. This problem is alleviated

when the water stream can be reached within three inches of the projecting rim.

cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Harland, FOIA, Friedlander n:\udd\harland\pmi.646 01-02872 -2B. A drinking fountain that provides for a front approach and is mounted 27 inches above the floor or ground surface meets the minimum knee space height requirement of Section 4.15.5 and also satisfies the provision of Section 4.4.1 that when the bottom edge of an object is at or below 27 inches above the floor, it may project any amount. C. When considering the direction of approach and the requirements of Section 4.4.1, if the "hi" section of a "hilo" fountain presents a hazard as a protruding object, it may be necessary to install the fixture in an alcove or to provide a cane-detectable element. D. In the Standards, the words "maximum" or "minimum" are never specified when there is an allowable range of dimensions. This practice does not appear to cause any confusion in applying the standard for the height of grab bars or the diameter of handrails. We believe that "maximum" and "minimum" are implicit in this convention. For example, a range of "17 in to 19 in" means a minimum of 17 inches and a maximum of 19 inches. E. The requirement for a fountain "at a standard height convenient for those who have difficulty bending," can be satisfied by applying conventional industry standards such as you cite. Please feel free to contact the Public Access Section any time you have questions or need information. The Department maintains a telephone information line to provide technical assistance regarding the rights and obligations of individuals,

businesses, agencies, and others covered or protected by the ADA. This technical assistance is available by calling 202-514-0301 (voice) or 202-514-0383 (TDD) between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section 01-02873