Current Position on April 10, 2017 – Nestlé Water Takings in Evart, Osceola County

The DEQ Public Hearing will take place on April 12, 2017 at the Ferris State University Center. This hearing is for Nestlé’s permit for an increase in water taking from the White Pine Springs Well 101 in Osceola Township, Osceola County. The permit was originally for 150 gallons per minute (gpm), increased without public notification or the correct legal framework in 2015 to 250 gpm, and now Nestlé is asking for 400 gpm. This withdrawal is for every minute of every day with no cap.

We urge you to visit our website for more details as updating occurs at: www.saveMIwater.org

MCWC’s position:

1. The DEQ has scheduled one Public Hearing in Big Rapids. MCWC has asked for multiple hearings around the state because this is a STATE-WIDE issue, not only a local Evart issue. We believe that the DEQ has minimized the information about this hearing. In addition, the chosen venue has limited parking for the public to attend. This is an issue that touches many people in Michigan, U.S., and around the world as Nestlé, a multibillion dollar foreign corporation, privatizes our water to sell back to us for huge profits.

2. MCWC believes there is a serious disconnect in the State of Michigan’s water policies and laws that grants Nestlé a permit for $200 per year to take more than 210,000,000 gallons of fresh spring water (less than $1.00 for 1,000,000 gallons) while 90,000 people in Detroit have had their household water disconnected for non-payment, and currently Flint residents are being disconnected. The residents of Flint have been subjected to long-term contamination of their drinking water through senseless and possibly criminal governmental acts. Their water bills are outrageously high. Many residents still should not drink their water, and no one would want to bathe in it. Michigan water policies are in serious need of updating if Michigan is going to manage, use and conserve its water resources wisely.

3. MCWC believes that serious and significant environmental damage has already occurred on the upper reaches of both Twin and Chippewa Creeks in Osceola County. MCWC is calling for a species inventory on both creeks to be conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the summer months. MCWC is calling for a return to the original permit limits of 150 gallons per minute at the White Pine Springs Well 101, until such time as the ground water table and the upper reaches of the Chippewa Creek have been restored and contain fresh spring water.

4. A precedent was set in a 2009 settlement that MCWC waged against Nestle over the water taking at the Sanctuary Springs in Mecosta county. Nestle was taking 400 gpm and environmental damage occurred. After a court case that cost MCWC 1 million dollars, Nestlé reduced their water taking to 218 gpm average year-round. They have moved 24 miles up the road and want to take 400 gpm from one well and create more harm to the aquifers north of Evart. MCWC believes they should observe the legal precedent set in the Mecosta County court case and maintain 150 gpm on the well PW-101 in Evart.

5. Nestle does their own monitoring with their independent consultants. MCWC is calling for our DEQ to get real data collection of the Nestle water takings conducted by the United States Geological Survey. USGS is willing and able to take on this commitment. If Nestle will not submit to USGS monitoring and data collection, then MCWC calls upon the DEQ to cease Nestlé’s permits for water withdrawal.

6. MCWC is calling for real time electronic monitoring with limit switches and discontinuation of water takings below agreed-to levels of the water table at the White Pine Springs Well 101. Such a system of real time digital monitoring provides the best way to comply with present law that requires that no environmental damage occur because of Nestles’ water takings permit.

7. The Nestle permit, as submitted, does not meet Michigan requirements of law and cannot be acted upon by the DEQ. The application is based upon model information and the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) specifically states the application must be made “using real existing data.” Thus, the Nestle application must be returned without action by the DEQ.

8. Bottled water recently surpassed all other bottled beverages as the most popular. MCWC believes that serious legislation about a deposit on plastic water bottles must occur. The waste of plastic is astounding, and should not happen. Nestlé should be required to use its facility expansion to recycle its plastic bottles.

9. A two-year moratorium must be declared for all new water taking wells and all new increases in water taking in Michigan. During this two years, laws and policies must be changed to manage and protect our valuable public trust resource of water. Canada recently imposed a two-year moratorium after 30 years of Nestle water taking in Ontario, and we must coordinate with Canada to preserve the Great Lakes Basin water. Water is quickly becoming more popular than oil. We need water for all species to live. The Great Lakes Basin has 20% of the world’s fresh water surface, and we must protect this for future generations.

In conclusion, we again call upon Governor Snyder to act to impose a 2-year moratorium on water taking increases and new permits. Michigan needs to update water laws and policies to manage, protect and conserve the waters of the Great Lakes Basin for the people of the state of Michigan.

Respectfully submitted,
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

Peggy Case, President
Jeff Ostahowski, Vice President
Karen Turnbull, Secretary
Glenna Maneke, Treasurer
John McLane
Wendy Nystrom
Diane Weckerle
Pam Gilbert
Jeanne Peters
Caitlin Griffiths