May 04, 2020

Nestle Groundwater Extraction Plan Moves Forward

A permit allows Nestle to boost the amount of Michigan groundwater it extracts


michigan well water

A permit has been upheld allowing Nestle Waters North America’s plans to withdraw 576,000 gallons of groundwater per day from the headwaters of two cold water trout streams in Osceola County, according to mLive.

Judge Dan Pulter said the ruling will not negatively impact surrounding natural resources. The ruling upholds a permit approval Nestle received over two years ago from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Nestle submitted a permit application to the MDEQ and Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division (DWMAD) in July 2016, in accordance with Section 17 of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act. The Section 17 permit is required to produce bottled drinking water if the water is from a new or increased large-quantity withdrawal of more than 200,000 gallons of water per day from the waters of the state, according to the Michigan legislature.

The Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians filed a challenge to that permit approval in July 2018, citing harm to the Chippewa Creek watershed, reported the New York Times.

Nestle can now increase extraction from its well near Evart, but the company will need to create new infrastructure to move additional water after a zoning lawsuit setback, reported mLive. The company would have needed a booster station to move the increased water flow from its wellhead to a loading dock in Evart; without the pump station, Nestle’s pipeline is not equipped to handle the increased withdrawal.  

Nestle claims its data shows the withdrawal rates are sustainable and will not harm the surrounding environment, according to mLive. Nestle drilled the well in 2001 and began using it for commercial extraction in 2015, when it was allowed to withdraw up to 250 gallons per minute (gpm). This can now increase to 400 gpm.

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