Community members rally against proposed Eau Claire water bottling facility

The Eau Claire City Council held a public hearing on the proposal Monday.
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 11:34 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Before Monday’s Eau Claire City Council meeting, some community members held a rally to protest a proposed water bottling facility in Eau Claire.

The rally was done in an attempt to encourage City Council members to vote “no” to Niagara Bottling, which would break ground on the proposed facility in 2023.

One of the concerns some community members have is how the facility could impact local water resources. Others said they’re concerned about the environmental impact of the plant. Some are also worried that the city isn’t taking their concerns into consideration.

“”There’s concerns about the entire process and how this representation of Eau Claire that a lot of people didn’t know about, that public input wasn’t sought, and that we have to make a rushed decision,” Lynn Buske, who opposes the bottling plant, said. “There’s environmental concerns, there’s concerns about the water levels, water contamination, the PFAS, and the lack of a general environmental study around how this will impact the environment.”

At a City Council meeting in May, community members expressed their concerns to representatives.

“Can we not do this long term study and do the hydrology report?” Liz Spencer, a community member, said. “Water does not know any boundaries.”

“I am not for it because of the plastic and because of the usage of our precious waters,” Linda Norton, another community member, said.

A hydrologist at UW-Eau Claire said we lack an in-depth county-wide study of water and climate change’s possible impact on the supply to make a decision like this now.

Developer Purple Rain Properties, which has ties to Niagara Bottling, is looking to build the facility on Eau Claire’s northwest side. The city, which said it expects the plant to add about 58 full-time jobs, said after the facility is fully built, the plant would use around 9% of the city’s current water plant capacity.

The proposal had its public hearing Monday, with a vote expected during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. For more information related to the proposed water bottling plant, you can visit the City of Eau Claire website.

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