U.S. Water News Online
REDBY, Minn. -- What began as a small venture to bring some
jobs to the Red Lake Indian reservation is expanding substantially as
interest in a bottled water plant grows.
Red Lake Bottling Inc. won't ship its first bottle of water until
the plant opens in mid-March, but tribal business planner Quentin
Fairbanks said the potential jobs have already grown from seven to as
many as 50.
``We started getting orders from other people who wanted us to
bottle their water under their label,'' Fairbanks said, adding that
interest was also strong for the plant to manufacture plastic
bottles, which it plans now to do. ``This thing has really grown.''
An aquifer that runs under the reservation land, untainted by farm
nitrate deposits or iron in the soil, contains water so pure it can
go straight from bedrock to bottle, Fairbanks said. He said the water
will not even come into contact with air until the consumer opens the
The Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Bemidji agreed to a partnership
with Red Lake, and will soon be marketing and distributing its water
under the Red Lake Nation and Paul Bunyan brands.
With help from a $1.4 million federal grant, construction on the
plant began last year. Fairbanks said the plant should have been up
and running by now, but its opening was delayed because interest from
around the state expanded the scope of the project.
The tribe will use profits from the business for environmental
cleanup on the reservation, as well as constructing sanitation and
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