U.S. Water News Online
STANWOOD, Mich. -- Ice Mountain Spring Water Co. said it
has begun bottling water from the Great Lakes basin, which
environmental groups have gone to court to stop because there are no
limits on how much water the company can withdraw.
Company officials say fears about the $100 million plant in
western Michigan are unfounded. But separate lawsuits have been filed
to stop the plant from shipping water out of the Great Lakes basin
spring and to change the state's permitting process for such an
Before the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved
the bottling plant, environmental impact tests were run on the spring
source located about 12 miles northeast of the plant. But the state
has no limits on the amount of water that can be taken from the
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, a group of residents who
live near the plant about 50 miles north of Grand Rapids, sued last
year, and are seeking legislation giving the state more control over
Plant spokeswoman Deborah Wudyka said the company, which has
self-imposed a daily withdrawal limit of 575,000 gallons, performed
exhaustive studies to ensure the operation does not deplete water
sources or harm the local ecosystem.
``That is very central to what this company is all about,'' Wudyka
The plant started bottling May 4, but has taken only about 114,000
gallons per day as only one of five production lines is operating.
Terry Swier, president of the water conservation group, said she
believes the company began operations early because of the pending
lawsuits. She said the legal action will ``answer the question,
`Whose water is it?' I think that's the bottom line for me.''
Three American Indian tribes in Michigan also sued three months
ago in federal court. They argue the operation violates the Water
Resources Development Act of 1986 and requires approval from the
governors of other Great Lakes states.
Ice Mountain Spring Water is a division of Nestle Waters North
America, which until a few weeks ago was called Perrier Group of
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