U.S. Water News Online
LANSING, Mich. -- A water bottling plant can continue to
pump spring water from Mecosta County wells but not at as fast a rate
as it would prefer, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in a recently
The court said Ice Mountain Spring Water is entitled to make
"reasonable" use of available water resources in Mecosta County, but
its proposed withdrawal rate of 400 gallons per minute is
unreasonable. The three-judge panel remanded the case to a trial
judge to determine the appropriate level of pumping. In the meantime,
pumping cannot exceed a weekly average of 200 gallons per minute.
In 2001, local residents and property owners sued Ice Mountain's
parent company, Nestle Waters North America, arguing its groundwater
withdrawals are bad for the environment because they drop water
levels and flows in neighboring lakes, streams and wetlands.
Mecosta County Circuit Judge Lawrence Root ordered Nestle to stop
drawing water from the wells in 2003, saying the withdrawals caused a
"material diminishment" of water flows and levels. That decision was
put on hold during Nestle's appeal, allowing the company to continue
In May, Gov. Jennifer Granholm slapped a moratorium on new or
expanded bottled water operations in Michigan until the Legislature
enacts a water withdrawal law.
Overall, there are about 20 bottled-water operations in Michigan.
The bottling operation in Mecosta County is located about 50 miles
north of Grand Rapids.
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