A permit allowing Nestle to boost the amount of groundwater it pumps in the US state of Michigan has been formally challenged. The Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) filed a May 31 petition to contest the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) permit in state court.
MCWC, which previously sued Nestle over its water withdrawals in Michigan, claims the state did not follow the law when it conditionally approved Nestle's bid to withdrawal more water from a well drawing from a spring aquifer in Osceola County.
The water withdrawal increase from 250 gallons a minute to 400 gallons a minute is part of a $36 Million USD expansion of Nestle’s Ice Mountain bottled water facility in the county.
When Nestle originally tried to increase the amount of water from 250 gallons to 400 gallons a minute in 2016, the state’s Water Withdrawal Assessment tool rejected the proposal, concluding it would damage nearby streams, rivers and lakes and have an adverse effect on fish.
But at the beginning of April, the MDEQ reversed itself and ruled that Nestle's application meets the requirements of the Michigan State Drinking Water Act.
MDEQ Director Heidi Grether said at the time of the April reversal that “The scope and detail of the department’s review of the Nestle permit application represents the most extensive analysis of any water withdrawal in Michigan history. We are hopeful that whether residents agree with the Nestle permitting decision or not, they will acknowledge and respect the work that MDEQ staff did to thoroughly and conscientiously apply the law in reviewing the permit".