U.S. Water News Online
PORTLAND, Ore. — Filtered water from the Willamette River may soon be bottled and sold by Dasani.
Coca-Cola Bottling of Oregon plans a $35 million expansion of its suburban Wilsonville plant near Interstate 5 to include Dasani water, adding 17 jobs in Wilsonville and 45 in the surrounding area.
Bottled water is not without controversy.
Critics say that filtering and bottling tap water, as Dasani and some other brands do, just packs landfills with bottles when people could simply turn on a faucet in their homes.
But the American Beverage Association says bottled water is different from tap water because it goes through additional filtering.
“While the source may be municipal, the (filtering) process is advanced beyond what any municipality does,” Craig Stevens, spokesman for the beverage industry organization, told The Oregonian.
Dasani filters city water and uses a reverse osmosis process to remove most of the minerals and “impurities,” said Dora Wong, spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Bottling of Oregon. The company then adds its own mix of minerals.
At the start of 2009, Oregon will add water bottles to the state recycling program, tacking on a five-cent deposit to the price. The legislation is expected to reduce the roughly 125 million water bottles reaching state landfills, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
The Coca-Cola plant has been in Wilsonville for more than 20 years and currently employs 107 people, said Mayor Charlotte Lehan.
Wilsonville is the only city in the Portland area to take its drinking water from the Willamette. Farther south, Corvallis and Adair Village use water from the Willamette.
Water from the Wilsonville drinking water treatment plant, built in 2002 near the river shore, has consistently met federal and state standards, according to the state Drinking Water Program.
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