The Pioneer Press recently reported that several landowners in Afton, Minn., on the lower St. Croix River, have been contacted by out-of-state businesses asking about the possibility of developing natural springs for commercial water bottling.
Officials warn that not only are there restrictions on selling groundwater in Minnesota, but such activities are not allowed in most of the city due to land use restrictions.
“I have heard from several residents who have received mailers from companies that want to bottle spring water from their property,” Afton mayor Bill Palmquist wrote in the city’s latest newsletter. “If you have received anything similar please let our staff know so these companies can be contacted. Extracting, hauling, and/or processing spring water for commercial use is not an allowed use in an agricultural or residential zone. We want to make sure everyone involved knows the ordinance restrictions before taking any action that could result in issues down the road.”
The issue has taken on prominence in recent years as other companies look for ways to sell Minnesota’s water, while other parts of the country experience drought and shortages. A $125 million proposal in Elko New Market, in Scott County, Minn. has received significant citizen opposition.
One Afton city council member reported being contacted by Rolling Hills Springs, an Indiana-based company that provides water to bottling businesses.
“We own, manage, and operate multiple spring sites that provide water to be bottled off our sites to several customers,” the company’s website reads. “Our management team has developed the very specific skillset that it requires to take the natural spring business from locating and identifying a viable spring source through the complete development and licensing of the spring. We hope to continue to grow our company by acquiring other sites across the Midwest.”
That’s easy. Stop buying bottled water and the market will “dry up.”
Bonnie Kloos says
Exactly. Not to mention how bad the bottle itself is….