Osceola Co. judge OKs Nestle facility to boost pumping


OSCEOLA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A judge has ruled that Nestle can build its controversial booster station near Evart.

The new facility would allow the bottled water company to increase what they pump from their Osceola Township well to 400 gallons of water per minute.

The township board previously denied Nestle’s request for the booster station, but this circuit court ruling overturns that decision.

Nestle’s battle isn’t over yet. The company still needs approval from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality to pump 400 gallons per minute; that permit request has been pending since 2016.

Opponents say taking more would impact the water table in Osceola County, but Nestle says their studies show it won’t harm the environment.

Thursday evening, Nestle released the following statement:

Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) is pleased that the Circuit Court has decided that our request for a permit to build a small, 12-foot by 22-foot building to house a booster pump in Osceola Township is valid and has ordered the Township to issue the zoning permit. The booster pump would increase pressure along a pipeline to transport additional water, should the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) approve our application for increased withdrawal capacity at the White Pine Springs well. As background on this issue, we disagreed with the decision by the Osceola Township Planning Commission to deny our request for a permit, and by the tie vote of the Osceola Township Zoning Board of Appeals to let that denial stand. We firmly believe the plan we proposed met the Township’s zoning ordinance. Of all our options, we believe the booster station will be the most efficient and environmentally friendly. We are sensitive to local government’s incurrence of legal expenses in this appeal, and that is why we offered to delay this action, but that offer was unfortunately refused. Nestlé Waters has worked to be a good neighbor to Osceola Township for over 15 years. We value our relationships with Township residents and community leaders, and always strive to create shared value within the communities where we operate. In the two-county area of Osceola and Mecosta Counties alone, our local economic contribution supports nearly 200 jobs and $13.2 million in economic output. We are the 9th largest employer in the Osceola and Mecosta County region. In addition, our company pays nearly $1.6 million in state and local taxes, including $781,000 in property taxes in Osceola and Mecosta Counties.”

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