Food & Water Watch Members Help Michigan Citizens Score Victory in Bottled Water Battle Against Nestlé | Food & Water Watch
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July 13th, 2009

Food & Water Watch Members Help Michigan Citizens Score Victory in Bottled Water Battle Against Nestlé

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation scored a big victory last Monday, and the support of Food & Water Watch members played a part!

MCWC went to court on Monday, July 6 and prevented Nestlé Waters North America from pumping even more water from an already depleted stream in Mecosta County to bottle for its Ice Mountain brand bottled water.

After nine years of legal battles with corporate giant Nestlé and all its resources, MCWC‚ situation was looking grim.  With its mounting legal costs, the group was facing the very real possibility of having to give up.  But several hundred Food & Water Watch members pitched in, donating over $7500 in just a few days.

On Monday, MCWC reached a settlement with Nestlé.  “Under this modified injunction order, Nestlé cannot pump more water from Dead Stream or Thompson Lake,” Terry Swier, MCWC President, said.  “This new order completes one of MCWC‚ goals.  Nestle must reduce its pumping earlier in the spring and continue its low pumping rates during the summer months. This will leave more water in the system and should eliminate the more serious impacts to the stream that occur in drier years and summers.”

The money donated by Food & Water Watch members will really help MCWC with the legal fees it racked up during this lengthy fight.  We received word from MCWC’s president, emphasizing how important the assistance of our supporters was to their victory and expressing sincere gratitude. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed!

To read more, check out the press release on MCWC‚ site.

, Alex Patton

One Comment on Food & Water Watch Members Help Michigan Citizens Score Victory in Bottled Water Battle Against Nestlé

  1. Concerned Citizen says:

    DEQ Gives Homeowner Permit to Dump Nearly One Billion Gallons of Ground Water Down the Drain
    Aug 8, 2009 at 12:49PM by Jack Hoogendyk
    Do you remember the big battle in Evart, Michigan between Ice Mountain and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)? Nestle Waters was trying to create hundreds of jobs by bottling fresh ground water for retail sale. The DEQ, joined by the environmental groups like the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC), argued that Ice Mountain would deplete the ground water, causing damage to nearby lakes and streams. The case dragged on for years, coming to a final conclusion only last month when Ice Mountain agreed to pump no more than 313,000 gallons of groundwater per day. Originally, Ice Mountain had been granted permission to pump 576,000 gallons per day.

    Terry Swier, president of the MCWC, called the settlement a victory for her organization. “This will leave more water in the system and should eliminate the more serious impacts” to the waterways that were threatened by the withdrawals, Swier said.

    My question is this: If the DEQ and the MCWC were willing to fight so hard protect the ground water and the environment in that case, where are they on the situation in Grand Haven Township?

    Look closely at the picture above. What you are looking at is called an “outfall structure.” It is essentially a well with a pump at the bottom capable of extracting up to 450,000 gallons of fresh ground water per day. It runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    How did this pump get here? The short version of the story goes like this. A property owner applied for and was given a permit to build a home. Just before construction began, the builder decided to move the foundation from the back of the property to the front. After digging the foundation and putting in the basement, they discovered they were in a high water table. They tried installing a sump pump but it couldn’t keep up. They ended up installing the outfall structure you see in the picture. This pristine water is being extracted from the water table and dumped, ostensibly into a county drain.

    The problem is, the county drain doesn’t go anywhere, leaving the potential for severe flooding of the neighborhood, especially when there is a wet, rainy period like we had last Spring. This causes damage to crops, property values and the highway that runs about 50 feet from the pump. Granted, the water eventually percolates back into the ground, but doesn’t seem like a waste of quality ground water to allow this to happen? Why are environmental groups and the DEQ not taking action to prevent this waste? A neighbor across the street has been inquiring of the DEQ, the Drain Commissioner, the Township Board, the Department of Transportation and the County Road Commission. No action has been taken. This situation has been ongoing for over one year.

    When pressed on the issue, legal counsel for the DEQ said in effect: “Oh, we didn’t give them permission to pump all that water, we just granted them a permit to put the pipe in the ground.” Who knew that all that water would come spewing out of the pipe? Where are the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation on this one?

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