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Judge clears way for Nestle booster pump

Michael Gerstein
Associated Press

Lansing — A Michigan judge has cleared the way for Nestle Waters North America to begin constructing a new pumping station in Osceola Township after months of hurdles.

Mason County Judge Susan Sniegowski ruled this week that the township must issue a permit allowing Nestle to build a new pump station needed to transport extra water the bottled water company wants to withdraw from the White Pine Springs well near Evart.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality would still have to approve the increased water withdrawal permit separately before that would happen. That request is pending.

But the pump station ruling clears the way for one part of Nestle’s plan. The company needs the new “booster pump” to increase water pressure along a pipeline that would allow it to transport more water if the DEQ approves the separate permit to increase the amount of water it takes from an underground aquifer from 250 to 400 gallons per minute for its Ice Mountain brand.

The ruling follows the Osceola Township Planning Commission’s rejection of Nestle’s 12-by-22-foot booster pump permit application in April.

Nestle appealed the rejection to a judge and won that appeal this week after at first agreeing to delay its court challenge until the company heard back from the DEQ about whether the water withdrawal permit will be granted.

Nestle praised the ruling in a statement.

“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,” said Arlene Anderson-Vincent, Nestle’s natural resource manager.

“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.”