New Ice Mountain Owner Adjusts Water Withdrawal Plan

EVART, Mich. (AP) — The new owner of a bottled water operation in western Michigan said it won't use a state permit that would allow it to significantly boost water withdrawals.

The previous owner of the Ice Mountain plant had received state approval to pump 400 gallons a minute from a well near Evart in Osceola County, a 60% increase. BlueTriton Brands recently told regulators that it would pump at 288 gallons a minute, a smaller jump.

That lower volume would allow the company to avoid certain environmental monitoring requirements, MLive.com reported.

“We appreciate the hard work of the Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy staff throughout the permit review process,” BlueTriton said.

The water taken from the well is moved by pipeline to a production site in Evart and then trucked to the bottling facility in Mecosta County. Other wells in the area are also used. The Ice Mountain operation was formerly owned by Nestle Waters.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation said it's pleased that BlueTriton has a different pumping strategy. But Peggy Case, president of the watchdog group, said BlueTriton still would be withdrawing more than the current 250-gallon-a-minute threshold near Evart.

Critics say water withdrawals in the region have impacted streams and creeks.