Inaccessible to general public due to “sensitive habitat,” however Nestle will continue pumping 5 days a week, 8 trucks a day.
DWL believes that this article is a perfect example of the marriage between corporate water miners and state officials. A comment below the article sums it up nicely: “On one hand, Nestle says they want to “create a more natural habitat.” On the other, they want to apply a “geotextile liner” to the ponds. Do the terms “geotextile liner” and “natural habitat” even belong in the same discussion? Just wondrin…”
Here is the article, published in The Mountain Mail on 9/30/2011 by Cailey McDermott:
Nestlé Waters North America, Inc., will request a permit to restore the old fish hatchery near Ruby Mountain to a more natural state in upcoming weeks. The restoration work was a condition of the permit agreement with Chaffee County.
Bobbi McClead, natural resource manager, said a special permit is needed from the U.S. Army Corps for construction in a wetland environment, and the plan is to apply soon for the permit.
“When it’s done, all indication of the hatchery will be gone,” she said.
The plan is to remove all man-made structures from the wetland area to create a more natural habitat and an educational site for school use.
The upper pond will be expanded with an island for fowl habitat, and the ponds will be lined with geotextile liner. The liner will help filter, drain and protect the ponds.
McClead said because the wetlands are a sensitive habitat, they will not be open to the public, but schools will be able to schedule educational visits.
The Ruby Mountain spring area is between 16 and 18 acres, she said.
McClead said she expects the reclamation project to be completed in 2012 with the bulk of the construction occurring in spring during low groundwater flows.
She said there is a large variability of underground flows, which can range from 500 to 2,000 gallons per minute.
There are two pump houses on the property, but only one is operational. McClead said the older pump house is used as a backup if needed.
She said Nestlé is permitted to pump up to 122 gallons per minute per day from the operating well, but it runs continually at 110 gallons per minute to keep the water moving.
McClead said they are only taking a “portion” of what would naturally be lost, so there is “no depletion of water over time.”
Eight times a day, seven days a week tankers haul the water from storage silos in Johnson’s Village to Denver to be bottled as Arrowhead brand spring water.
McClead said in the next couple of weeks loads being driven to Denver will be reduced to five days a week.
At this time of year, more than half of what is pumped from the well is returned to the Arkansas River, she said.
Mike Allen, owner of Apex Development Services, LLC, is assisting with the reclamation project.
He said that, when the reclamation is complete, a conservation easement will be put in place, and nothing else will happen in the wetland except water monitoring.
McClead said the bulk of Nestlé-owned Arrowhead spring water is bottled in California. She said there is a “significant demand” for the brand in the Rocky Mountain region and “it didn’t make sense from a fuel-usage or carbon-footprint standpoint” to transport the water from California.
“We had the opportunity to reduce trucking miles by creating a source in Colorado,” she said.
The spring at Ruby Mountain is the only Nestlé-operated spring in the state, but the company has about 50 springs nationwide that supply water for 11 brand names owned by Nestlé.
link to the original article: