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Group Asks Governor to Shut Down Nestlé's Pumping in Evart

The group Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation believes Nestle is breaking the law in Evart. (MCWC)
The group Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation believes Nestle is breaking the law in Evart. (MCWC)
November 14, 2017

EVART, Mich. – As a judge and state officials prepare to make decisions that will impact whether the world's largest water bottler can increase pumping out of its well near Evart, one group is calling on the state to immediately bottle up the whole operation.

Nestlé has asked the state for a permit to increase its pumping at the White Pine Springs well to 400 gallons per minute and will face off against Osceola Township in court on Wednesday over the construction of the booster station needed to do so.

But Peggy Case, president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, says her group has proof the current pumping rate is violating Michigan law.

"The law says you can't do environmental damage, and we have proof that this well has already done environmental damage, even at 150 gallons per minute," she says.

While Nestlé claims the increased pumping rate would not harm local wetlands, lakes or streams, the group conducted a temperature and depth analysis and found the water level is now too low to support fish, a drastic change from a state study done in 2000 that showed abundant trout in the area.

While the state is expected to rule on the permit soon, the group has sent a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette, calling on them to shut down the pumping pending further review.

Case argues that the damage that has already been done is so severe, it is visible to the naked eye.

"People living along these streams have noticed that the streams have changed their courses, and that there are alien grasses growing where they didn't used to be, and that the water level in the culverts is way lower than it once was," she explains. "These are all obvious examples of damage."

Under Michigan's "reasonable use" standard for groundwater extraction, property owners such as Nestlé can pump groundwater for free, with only a small paperwork fee, as long as the extraction does not harm the environment or dry up neighboring wells.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation will hold a vigil on Wednesday outside the Osceola Township courthouse, where the company will attempt to make its case for the booster station.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI