State Agencies Have Betrayed the Flathead

We have to stop this plant if we care about our wate

By Steve Moore

The bottling plant plans to expand to full capacity, which would enable it to pump out of the Flathead Valley’s aquifers upwards of 230,000,000 gallons of water a year. And, do you know what that will do to the wells and surface waters of the area? No? Well, neither does the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation which is supposed to protect and conserve the state’s water. But they don’t have any idea what extracting that huge amount of water will do because they believe the underground aquifers are a magical source of nearly an infinite supply of water. However, last summer a hydrology professor at Carroll College in Helena studied it and his data says it will deplete springs and wetlands, which we rely on for such things as bird habitat, irrigation, and the property value of pothole lake area residents.

The bottling plant will also dump up to 35,000 gallons of plastic bottle rinse-water and other chemicals straight into the Flathead River. And do you know what is in that effluent? No? Well, neither does the Department of Environmental Quality, which is entrusted to ensuring our safe and healthy public waterways. But they don’t know because they didn’t want to look into it. They just allowed the plant owner to submit pure well water even though their wastewater will be from rinsing out hot plastic manufactured bottles. Why do you suppose the plant owner has to rinse out those bottles? Perhaps it is to remove carcinogens, plastic residues, toxic chemicals, and endocrine disruptors. And that all just gets dumped into our Flathead River for us to float through every summer.

Our state agencies have betrayed the Flathead Valley by ignorantly permitting this bottling plant without having a clue what pollutants it will expose us to, and without a clue as to how it will damage and diminish our natural environment. We have to stop this plant if we care about our water, rivers and streams! Vote FOR the Egan Slough Initiative 17-01 on June 5 to save our area from the pollutants and degradation that bottling plants everywhere always subject area communities to.

Steve Moore

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