CRYSTAL GEYSER: A HISTORY
The water and beverage bottling plant on Ski Village Drive in Mount Shasta, CA has been controversial since it was first built. Originally opened by Dannon Waters in 2001 to bottle "spring water" from its production wells and then later acquired by Cola-Cola, the plant generated much opposition from concerned local citizens because of the overwhelming lack of environmental oversight and protection from County and City officials. In December 2000, the County Board of Supervisors refused to consider an environmental review of the proposed Dannon plant despite the objections from citizens groups. Later that month several Mt. Shasta citizens filed a lawsuit challenging the County and Dannon over planned operations without any environmental review. Lawyers from Dannon subsequently threatened the citizens filing the lawsuit and fearing reprisals from the company they dropped the lawsuit.Read more
Below are Web postings on earlier information about Crystal Geyser, see Home tab for current postings.
Posted November 10, 2016
Crystal Geyser draft EIR out soon.
Measure H Gets 45% of the Votes in Siskiyou County.
Throughout this entire election season, We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review (WATER) has been working hard to ensure that the EIR for the Crystal Geyser Project is complete, thorough and up to State CEQA standards. We have been reviewing documents and hiring experts to ensure every aspect of the project is reviewed and thoroughly considered. This work is intensifying as the Draft EIR is expected Dec. 10th, 2016. Please visit our website or Facebook page for current updates in the coming weeks.
The voting results are in on Measure H, and although it did not pass, 45% support in this county is real progress! We understand that some Siskiyou County residents and the Board of Supervisors have differing ideas about how our area operates and how we care for our resources. Times are changing and there is obviously more work and education for us all to do. Staying active in our local issues and politics and responding to environmental threats is crucial to creating the type of community we value. We encourage you all to stay engaged, particularly now.
Crystal Geyser Draft EIR Looms
Updated Novemtber 10, 2016
On June 24, 2016 Siskiyou County announced the Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Crystal Geyser plant in Mount Shasta. This began a 30 day comment period from the public and various concerned agencies. Over 130 comments were submitted to the County by the end of the 30 day comment period. This shows the overwhelming interest and concern of local citizens and others about this controversial project. You can read W.AT.E.R.'s and the Gateway Neighborhood's comments to the County in the relevant links below, which give a good overview of the environmental issues surrounding the Crystal Geyser plant. We are thankful to all the folks who submitted comments and attended the public comment meeting on July 20. Now the real work begins. The County has hired the firm Analytical Environmental Services to conduct the EIR and will be releasing the Draft EIR (DEIR) sometime in mid-December. When the draft is released we will then have at least 30 days to comment on the draft and make criticisms of the report. W.A.T.E.R. is retaining knowledgeable environmental experts and lawyers to make strong and effective arguments about any weaknesses we find in the DEIR. This is the expensive part of the process and you can help by donating via the PayPal Button at upper left of this page.
WATER representaive Geneva Omann spoke at the World WATER Appreciation day in Mount Shasta City Park on July 25, 2016.
See the text of her talk HERE
Updated July 6, 2016
Public Comments Needed for EIR!
On June 24 Siskiyou County released a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Crystal Geyser Bottling Plant. The NOP describes the project and potential environmental effects in order to allow all interested parties to comment on the scope and content of the EIR. See the entire NOP HERE. The release of the NOP begins a 30-day public comment period. Written comments can be submitted to the County until July 25, 2016.
Written comments should be sent to:
County of Siskiyou, Community Development Department
c/o: Greg Plucker, Director,
806 S. Main Street, Yreka, CA 96097
Attend the Public Scoping Meeting
Wednesday, July 20 at 5PM
Sisson School Gym
601 E. Alma Street, Mt. Shasta.
The scoping meeting provides the opportunity for interested agencies and the public to provide oral comments on the scope of the EIR. It's important that the County and Crystal Geyser sees how much this means to our community.
It is important that the County hears all of our concerns about this plant! Put in your own words all the issues you think may be environmentally significant about the Crystal Geyser’s plant. Are you concerned about water usage, drought, effects on local wells and aquifer, noise, traffic, plastic pollution, effects on the local waste treatment plant and leach field, night sky lighting, local economic effects, effects on neighbors, or some other issue? Put it all in a letter and/or email and send it to the County by July 25. Attend the public scoping meeting and speak to the issues that concern you!
After the public comment period, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process will then have the County to prepare a Draft EIR to present to the public for review and comment. Once the draft EIR is presented we will need to comment on the errors and omissions of the draft before a final EIR is sent to the County for approval. You can see the County information page on the Crystal Geyser project HERE.
To learn more about preparing good scoping comments see this Help for CEQA commenting article by the Sierra Club. Another informational article from the “Fremontia” newsletter is HERE
W.A.T.E.R. has many concerns about the process so far. The NOP does not identify the expected severity or estimated impact of the different possible environmental issues. There is no Initial Study, which is expected either before or with a NOP. The County only provides a standard laundry list of expected effects. The project description is vague about one of the most severe issues: how will industrial waste be treated and disposed. The NOP describes FOUR different possibilities. Each of these entails a very different process and outcome. One of the options put forward entails building a NEW waste treatment plant ON SITE and then dumping the treated wastewater into our aquifer. We want Siskiyou County and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to follow the State mandate for clean water and anti-degradation and insist that the industrial wastewater go to the nearby Mt. Shasta City wastewater treatment plant.
We must ensure that all issues and environmental concerns are addressed and studied carefully. Your comments to the County can make a difference.
Updated June 6, 2016
Ground Water Initiative gathers over 2000 signatures.
In an amazing outpouring of community effort, volunteers collected over 2000 petition signatures to get an important ground water initiative on the November ballot. This was well over the 1362 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. The petition, titled the Siskiyou Headwaters Initiative, was ”prepared for the purpose of amending the Siskiyou County Groundwater Management Code (ordinance) to apply ground water extraction permit requirements to the entire County (not only designated groundwater basins) and remove the exemption that enables the water bottling industry to extract and export unlimited amounts of water from Siskiyou County without a permit.” Under requirements of California environmental law (CEQA), a level of environmental review will be necessary in order to obtain Conditional Use Permits. If approved by the voters in November, this initiative will overturn a late 1990’s amendment to the Siskiyou County groundwater ordinance exempting the water bottling industry from the permitting processes
Dozens of volunteers spread out through the County getting signatures, talking about water issues in our area and even registering voters so they could sign the petition. Good work everyone! The Board of Supervisors will review this initiative at their meeting scheduled for July 12, 2015 and could vote to implement the initiative directly. For more information, see the website of Siskiyou Forward at www.siskiyouforward.org
WATER receives a $3000 Grant to continue our work!
We are pleased to announce that WATER has received a $3000 grant from the Patricia L. Kimball and David T. Kimball Fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation. This generous donation was made possible at the request of the directors of the Kimball Fund who wished to support our work in protecting the environment and responsible development in Siskiyou County. This is especially important as we begin (again!) the CEQA/EIR process around the Crystal Geyser plant
Crystal Geyser EIR inches forward.
The County has told us they have selected a consulting firm to prepare the Environmental Impact Report for the Crystal Geyser plant. We anticipate the County will open an escrow fund (funded by CG) for expenses of the EIR, which we assume will include all County costs to administer the EIR as well as the consultant fees. We will continue to monitor this. If indeed a full Environmental Impact Report is to be prepared, a Scoping Meeting will be held and the public and agencies provided a project description. Comments received at that meeting and afterwards, will then be part of the review processes. Stay tuned and get ready to participate in this process. We expect it all to begin in earnest later this summer.
County Releases a Request for Proposal for an EIR on Crystal Geyser
(Upated May 11, 2016)
On April 12th 2016 the Siskiyou County Community Development Department released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for environmental consultant services to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Crystal Geyser's Use Permit to construct a caretaker/security residence on their property. It was this application that ultimately triggered the CEQA process on Crystal Geyser's plant. Most importantly the RFP states, “…the installation of the caretaker’s unit is directly related to the whole of Crystal Geyser’s bottling facility operations on the property and the entirety of the bottling plant operations is considered the CEQA-defined project.” According to the timeline contained in the RFP, the contract will be awarded sometime in May or June of 2016, with the draft EIR being completed around late October, and the final EIR completed in late January 2017.
The community of Mt. Shasta will be watching this process closely as Crystal Geyser has shown no transparency or responsiveness to the concerns raised by residents. The RFP reveals that Crystal Geyser is now considering four different waste treatment plans including building a waste treatment facility onsite and discharging the treated industrial wastewater into the leach field on the property (i.e. into our aquifer!) or trucking the wastewater somewhere offsite. The RFP also incorrectly states that the plant has only a “low density residential development to the east” when in fact the plant is surrounded on all sides by residential units. The RFP released by the County shows again the need for active community comments, critiques and participation in this process. See the full RFP HERE.
With blatant examples of the private companies commandeering of the public's water in Weed and McCloud, this scrutiny has never been as important as it is becoming now. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that the public remain informed and engaged. Without the undying vigilance, scrutiny, and legal action of local citizens, Crystal Geyser would have already been operating for more than two years, ignoring the rules, and without oversight. We only have history to look at for that knowledge: none of the mitigations prescribed for Dannon and Coca Cola were ever implemented or enforced.
Coming soon should be a Notice of Preparation from the County announcing the scope of the Crystal Geyser plans, the scheduling of a public meeting and inviting public comments on the issues involved in the EIR. W.A.T.E.R. will be monitoring this process and will update everyone as this develops.
Mount Shasta approves Mitigated Negative Declaration on City treatment plant upgrades
On May 9th 2016 the Mt. Shasta City Council approved the mitigated negative declaration for the city's upgrade of the waste water treatment plant. W.A.T.E.R. and many others in community had numerous concerns about the links to Crystal Geyser relating to this upgrade and other environmental issues, but the City Council and Enplan (the environmental consultant company) maintained that this project could be considered separately from Crystal Geyser.
Weed Water Grab in progress
The City of Weed and Roseburg Forest Products are battling over who has rights to water from Beaughan Springs, the main source of water for the city. Weed has used that water for over 100 years, and now Roseburg is trying to force Weed to find other water sources, claiming they have the rights to the City's share. A Roseburg representative said they want the water because, "Roseburg is in the business of making money". This is another example of a private corporation prioritizing its own profits over the needs of the public. See www.facebook.com/weedwaterproject to find out more.
W.A.T.E.R. needs your continued support. Funds are needed to hire unbiased experts and legal advice to provide credible analysis of reports and data throughout the EIR process so a full picture of the impact of this project can be known. Please donate today so that this important work can continue.
WATER Lawsuit in Court
(Updated April 18, 2016)
W.A.T.E.R.’s lawsuit with Siskiyou County and Crystal Geyser Water Company challenging the location of Crystal Geyser’s plant as inconsistent with the Siskiyou County Zoning Ordinance and the Siskiyou County General Plan was heard in Siskiyou County Court on April 14. WATER alleged that since the facility is located in a “Woodland Productivity” overlay, which designates the land for light-industrial use, CG’s proposed heavy industrial activities of beverage production and plastic bottle manufacturing were in violation of the General Plan. The court ruled that all causes of action were “time barred” and that the time to have objected to the zoning change was 25 years ago when the zoning was changes to heavy industrial. The Judge would not take into consideration the Woodland Productivity overlay, which should have protected the neighborhood from heavy industrial activities, as the property was zoned heavy industrial without objection 25 years ago.
Although the court ruled against us and said the zoning issues had to be resolved 25 years ago, we are confident that our advocacy effort has helped to lead to the proper decision by the County to prepare an Environmental Impact Report on the entire Crystal Geyser operation.
This process will involve permits and approvals from multiple agencies like the City of Mt. Shasta, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Air Pollution Control District and the California Public Utilities Commission. This process will bring about full public disclosure of the planned operation.
We look forward to actively participating in the upcoming CEQA process. W.A.T.E.R., with continued community support, will remain vigilant to ensure that an EIR actually happens and that promises are not reneged upon.
A Crystal Geyser EIR is announced (again).
March 25, 2016
On March 23, 2016, the Mt. Shasta Herald broke the story of Siskiyou County’s announcement to finally conduct an Environmental Impact Report on the entirety of the Crystal Geyser bottling plant operations. A letter from Greg Plucker, Siskiyou County Community Development Director, to Richard Weklych of Crystal Geyser stated in part:
"Upon review of the project, County staff believes that there are unique and unusual circumstances with respect to the project. ... While the project does require discretionary permits from other agencies, these other agencies only have permitting responsibilities for certain limited aspects of the entire bottling facility. This permitting arrangement has led to considerable concern voiced by the community over the potential of unaddressed environmental impacts. To address these concerns, I believe that it is in our mutual interest that an environmental impact report (EIR) be prepared in conjunction with the submitted use permit application.
In preparing the EIR, the County will be acting as the lead agency and any other permitting agency would be a responsible agency pursuant to the provisions of CEQA. Under this scenario, any responsible agency could then rely on the County’s comprehensive environmental document as part of their discretionary project review." (see full document HERE)
We have heard “announcements” of EIRs before and have been sadly disappointed, but hopefully we will now finally have a way forward to a full and comprehensive EIR. This new announcement of an EIR by the County was made possible only by the determined and energetic outpouring of the entire community that has been calling for an EIR for over two and a half years! What this also shows is that Crystal Geyser has NEVER presented the County, the City of Mount Shasta or the citizens of the area with a complete project description of the plant. No one could ever be sure of what really was planned for this site. Over time we learned that large propane and chemical tanks were installed, large and noisy cooling towers were put up, propane boiler systems were installed, a sewage treatment building has been proposed, three large gas fired electrical generators have been requested and a second well will be used to extract even more water for bottle processing. Now a security building has been added to mix. According to the Mt, Shasta Herald, the County “informed Crystal Geyser that a conditional use permit application to install a caretaker’s/security residence at its Mt. Shasta facility is a discretionary project and is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act.”
We are grateful to the County that it has finally recognized the need for an EIR, paid for by Crystal Geyser, and look forward to helping make sure that all environmental issues around this plant are fully addressed. (posted 03/26/16)
EDA grant terminated.
(Updated March 4, 2016)
On February 11, 2016 the Federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) terminated a three million dollar grant to the City of Mount Shasta awarded to assist in improvement of the City wastewater treatment system. The EDA letter stated in part:
…. the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has determined that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)… must be prepared and considered in connection with the amendment of EDA Award … for the upgrade of theMount Shasta Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), and because of the length of time required for such a review, EDA has determined that the Award must be terminated….
Pursuant to CEQA, in November of 2015 the City issued its Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study (MNDIS) for all improvements at the WWTP. Significantly, although anticipating the need for increased capacity at the WWTP from the Crystal Geyserfacility, the MNDIS did not address any of the effects of the facility on the environment. (See full EDA document HERE)
The grant documents stated that Crystal Geyser was a “primary beneficiary” of this grant and even EDA has now repeatedly stated that an environmental review is needed for this plant. The numerous voices from concerned citizens that have been calling for years for Crystal Geyser to pay for an environmental review of its operations, like any other developer, were ignored and now sadly this grant has been revoked. The loss of this grant was in large part due to the misguided “economic development” arguments put forward by those who have resisted an environmental review from the beginning, claiming it was unnecessary. A full environmental analysis of this Crystal Geyser project, paid for by Crystal Geyser, should have been the first step from the beginning, as legally required, not a process to avoid or a neglected afterthought.
There has been much discussion lately of the need to make Mount Shasta “business friendly” and the need for jobs and growth in our area. However, many times this is framed in opposition to having an environmental review of the operations of the proposed Crystal Geyser beverage plant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most, if not all, people and businesses locate here because of the clean air, pure water and the natural beauty of our area. An environmental review is one of the only ways to ensure that a proposed development does not ruin the very things that make it worth living, working or having a business here. An environmental review is not “anti-business”, it is good business planning. Only a full environmental analysis of the Crystal Geyser project will ensure healthy growth and prosperity in our area.
Groups like WA.T.E.R., the Gateway Neighborhood Association and other concerned citizens have been calling for an environmental review of Crystal Geyser because of concerns about the effects of industrial water extraction on our water supplies, the pollution and noise from the plant, the amount of truck traffic and many other effects of such a large operation in our area. Crystal Geyser claims it will have no such effects, but we have only their corporate word for this. How much noise and nighttime flood lighting of the plant will occur? We do not know. How much odor, fumes and pollution will be produced by plastic bottle manufacturing and beverage production? We do not know. What are the effects on local wells and the overall aquifer by the industrial extraction of large amounts of water (from two wells) by Crystal Geyser? We do not know. What are the affects of extreme drought combined with industrial water extraction? We do not know. Crystal Geyser has even recently successfully lobbied the regional water board to keep their well usage a proprietary secret, exempt from all reporting! What don’t they want us to know? An environmental review is the only way that we as a community can find out what the effects of this plant are and if there are serious environmental issues, it is the only way to have them mitigated or corrected.
Crystal Geyser has recently applied to connect to the City waste treatment system and this is an opportunity for the City to finally conduct an impartial environmental review of the entire plant operations. We are concerned that it has taken Crystal Geyser years to do this, when it should have been done before construction and installation of equipment began. We hope the City will take this opportunity to be pro-environment, this is NOT anti-business, but pro-Mount Shasta for all.
We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review (W.A.T.E.R.)
There is NO EIR! What’s Up with Crystal Geyser?
(updated Feb. 13, 2016)
After months of silence and amidst continued demands by residents of Mount Shasta in September 2015 Crystal Geyser released a statement saying: “In an effort to be completely transparent with the community we have decided to move forward … in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). By preparing this EIR, we will be able to analyze all potential impacts of the plant operations in Mt. Shasta.” Then, in an abrupt about-face, on January 12, 2016 Crystal Geyser announced to the County Board of Supervisors that they no longer considered an environmental review as necessary.
In other words, THERE IS NO EIR!
One reason that both Crystal Geyser and members of the Board of Supervisors give for not needing an EIR is that the operation is going to be no different from what was previously happening when Dannon and Coca-Cola owned and operated the plant.
It’s no different except for the fact that:
• All new production equipment has been installed inside a formerly empty building.
• Tea and juice flavored beverages will be manufactured and bottled, not water.
• A 30,000-gallon propane and large liquid nitrogen and CO2 tanks along with two large cooling towers and attached equipment buildings have been installed outside the main building.
• A pH neutralization waste treatment building has started being constructed.
• Three large propane powered electrical generators are slated to be installed.
• Expansion of the on site “domestic water pump house” is occurring, which will result in huge increases in water usage for the plant.
• Because this plant will use much more energy than Coca Cola did, the power substation on S. Old Stage Rd will have to be enlarged and a new high voltage power line to the plant installed.
And this is only what we have found out so far...who knows what we will hear in the future. Amazingly both County officials and Crystal Geyser claim this can all be done with NO environmental review!
We have just learned that Crystal Geyser has submitted an application to the City of Mount Shasta to connect to the City waste treatment system. This application is a trigger event for California environmental law. It is important that the entire community strongly demand that the City conduct a full EIR to consider all aspects of Crystal Geyser’s operations. Crystal Geyser is also trying to claim that the amount of water they will use is “proprietary information” and they should not be required to disclose how much water they pump. Why is this so when the rest of us are having meters installed at our houses? We say the public must know Crystal Geyser’s water usage to protect our scarce and valuable water resources.
W.A.T.E.R. has also filed a lawsuit against Crystal Geyser and Siskiyou County challenging the zoning of the Crystal Geyser property and submitted an amended complaint on January 29,2016. We anticipate having our day in court on this issue soon.
Please put an EIR sticker in your car window to let city and county officials know that the residents of Mount Shasta want to know Crystal Geyser’s plans so they can be fully evaluated in order that intelligent decisions can be made and our community, environment and quality of life is protected. Let the City Council and the Board of Supervisors know how you feel. Write a letter to the newspaper. Tell your neighbors.
W.A.T.E.R.'s legal action around Crystal Geyser has first court hearing
On Thursday, December 17, 2015 W.A.T.E.R. attended its first hearing in Siskiyou County Superior Court to present legal arguments about our lawsuit challenging the ‘General Plan’ protections placed upon this heavy industrial zoning area of the Crystal Geyser plant and the lack of a ground water extraction permit. Judge Karen Dixon had concerns about this case and was unsure that judicial review would be appropriate. She listened to statements from the County's lawyer, our attorney Don Mooney and Crystal Geyser's attorney Barbara Brenner. The Judge said she was willing to allow our attorney to amend the complaint to clarify our legal issues. We were given until January 29, 2016 to submit our amended arguments. Crystal Geyser's lawyer appeared to be upset by this motion to allow us to amend the complaint and objected to the time allowed to amend, but her objections were rejected by the Judge.
Posted January 8, 2016
What is Crystal Geyser up to?
The latest actions by Crystal Geyser (CG) call into serious question its much-touted “awareness” of the need for an Environment Impact Review (EIR). Everything the company is doing seems to be geared towards opening the plant without an EIR. At this time construction at the plant is proceeding and Crystal Geyser refuses to submit any permit applications that could trigger an EIR.
Polluting Boilers Installed
On September 29 Crystal Geyser submitted an application to the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control Board (APCD) to install four steam boilers in their Mount Shasta beverage plant (and plans show that a total of six boilers will eventually be installed). According to Crystal Geyser’s application these boilers will emit over 17 thousand tons of carbon dioxide a year in addition to thousands of pounds of other pollutants and poisons! Here is a chart of the major pollutant amounts from the four boilers revealed in the application:
Amazingly, but unsurprisingly, the APCD approved installation of these boilers with no
environmental impact report (EIR), using the excuse that each boiler by itself is below the amount
requiring an environmental review, but refusing to consider them as a whole. By this logic there is no
limit at all to the amount of steam boilers CG can install. But Crystal Geyser was so impatient to start
polluting they installed the boilers before the permit to construct was granted, causing the County to
fine them a thousand dollars for the violations. Crystal Geyser seems to want to take all sorts of
shortcuts to get this plant in operation.
Three Propane Generators Planned
On December 17, after the boilers were permitted, Crystal Geyser applied to the APCD to install three
375 kilowatt electrical generators to supply additional power to the plant. These large generators will be
housed in building on the south of the plant and will generate even more noise from the plant as well as a substantial amount of pollutants.
Electrical Substation and new power lines to plant
Pacific Power has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to
rebuild the large electrical substation on S. Old Stage Rd. and enlarge the power lines to the Crystal
Geyser plant. This also requires an environmental review, but amazingly even though Crystal Geyser
is a major reason for this upgrade, Pacific Power is not including the Crystal Geyser plant in its
proposed environmental assessment. WA.T.E.R. and others in the community have filed protests with
CPUC over this flagrant oversight.
Propane, Nitrogen and CO2 Tanks installed
Crystal Geyser has also installed a 30,000 gallon propane tank as well as large liquid carbon dioxide
and nitrogen tanks next to the plant. The Crystal Geyser plant is located in a designated High Fire
Hazard Zone. The National Fire Protection Act requires a Fire Risk Analysis be done on the potentially very flammable and explosive propane tank. W.A.T.E.R. cannot find that this analysis has been done. W.A.T.E.R. has filed a protest with the State Dept. of Industrial Relations about these dangerous shortcuts by Crystal Geyser.
Waste Treatment Building Going In
For months the City of Mount Shasta has been waiting to receive an application from Crystal Geyser
for a permit to connect to the City's waste treatment plant. But the City has heard nothing from CG
about this, leaving everyone in the dark as to what CG is planning. Meanwhile CG is now planning to
construct a new building to house a "Waste Water pH Neutralization system". According to an
email sent out by Crystal Geyser's Communications Manager, Jill Harris this system is being installed
to ensure all discharge going to the City Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) has been effectively
neutralized. The letter goes on to state:
"We will not proceed with wastewater discharges from the Neutralization system to the City sewer until we
have obtained a City Wastewater Permit. We understand that this permit is discretionary and will require
environmental review. We are prepared to address this and all other environmental impacts in the course
of the previously announced EIR"
But no application to connect to the City has been submitted and no environmental review has
been done. Just like the boiler being installed before the permit to construct was granted and the
propane tanks installed with no inspection or permit, CG is planning a treatment process building
before any permit to connect to the WWTP has been granted. W.A.T.E.R. has learned that on Dec 11
the County has issued a "stop work order" to Crystal Geyser demanding that it STOP ALL WORK that is not permitted by the County.
It is W.A.T.E.R.'s belief that there are serious environmental concerns around this plant
and this sewer connection permit is dependent upon an environmental review. However, since Crystal Geyser has announced it plans to begin with production of sparkling water only, this could be done without a connection to the City sewer system, using the on site leach field to dump rinse water. It seems like CG wants to have the entire plant built and operating before any environmental review is done, once more impatiently putting its own needs
first. Crystal Geyser has made much public relation noise about "becoming aware" of the need for an
EIR, but has so far refused to submit any permit applications that would trigger the need to conduct
one. What are they waiting for
Posted Oct. 9, 2015
What's really up with that EIR?
We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review would like to take this opportunity to give you our perspective on recent events and regarding announcement of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Crystal Geyser Plant.
- After two years of working with agencies to get a full and impartial EIR, W.A.T.E.R. filed a lawsuit in August, 2015, against Crystal Geyser Water Company and Siskiyou County challenging industrial zoning and ground water extraction permit issues. (Please note: An EIR is separate from the lawsuit. If an EIR happens it will be concurrently with the lawsuit.)
- The lawsuit will be heard in Siskiyou County Superior Court. W.A.T.E.R will announce any hearing dates once they are scheduled.
- Crystal Geyser’s PR firm Burson-Marsteller, released a press release on September 16th, stating: ”…Crystal Geyser Water Company has become aware that our state-of-the-art bottling facility in Mt. Shasta will require a permit from the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District (APCD). In an effort to be completely transparent with the community we have decided to move forward with APCD in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). By preparing this EIR, we will be able to analyze all potential impacts of the plant operations in Mt. Shasta.”
In the 10/7/15, Mt. Shasta Herald, Deborra Brennan reports that Siskiyou County council Brian Morris stated: “…he understands that Crystal Geyser wants to do a full EIR due to community interest and he confirmed that county officials have had meetings with Crystal Geyser representatives about the matter. However, he said no decisions have yet been reached.” Morris also noted “From the county’s perspective, we have not yet determined whether there will be an Environmental Impact Report done with either the Control District as lead agency, or what the scope of any such EIR might be.”
(See full article HERE)
The rest of the article goes on to explain that any EIR would only cover items for the specific permits submitted - NOT a full EIR of all aspects of Crystal Geyser’s operations. A full EIR would consider all particulars such as industrial water extraction and consequent possible groundwater depletion during historic drought conditions, effects on local domestic wells within the shared aquifer, pollution from plastic bottle production, hazardous material storage (two 30,000 gallon tanks of propane), pollution from industrial waste, plant noise, air pollution and odors, truck traffic, general plant aesthetics on our scenic rural environment and the ability of the City waste treatment plant to process the plant’s effluent.
So despite the recent “positive spin” press releases by Crystal Geyser representatives, it seems that the County continues to ‘carry water’ for Crystal Geyser and has no intention of doing a full and impartial EIR. It will be up to everyone to make sure a full and impartial EIR is done. Contact your County Supervisor, write a letter, attend Board of Supervisor meetings and make your voice heard.
W.A.T.E.R. Press Release, September 18, 2015
Crystal Geyser "becomes aware" of need for EIR !
We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review (W.A.T.E.R.) welcomes Crystal Geyser’s announcement that it has finally “become aware” of the need for an Environmental Impact Report, as deemed necessary per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). On September 16th Crystal Geyser’s PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, sent out a press release stating: ”…Crystal Geyser Water Company has become aware that our state-of-the-art bottling facility in Mt. Shasta will require a permit from the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District (APCD). In an effort to be completely transparent with the community we have decided to move forward with APCD in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). By preparing this EIR, we will be able to analyze all potential impacts of the plant operations in Mt. Shasta.” W.A.T.E.R.notes that this statement was released by Crystal Geyser only weeks after W.A.T.E.R. filed a lawsuit challenging the County zoning and ground water permitting of the beverage plant. (http://cawater.net/Documents/Final Complaint.pdf)
For over two years there has been a widespread outpouring of community support for an EIR on Crystal Geyser’s beverage bottling facility. From the beginning Siskiyou County officials and Crystal Geyser insisted that an EIR was not needed. However, Crystal Geyser must now obtain a discretionary permit from the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) which requires that the APCD prepare and certify an environmental document in order to comply with CEQA. W.A.T.E.R. has long suspected that Crystal Geyser has delayed obtaining permits such as for planned electrical power upgrades and industrial sewage hookups to avoid an EIR before the planned partial opening of its beverage bottling plant in the fall of 2015.
Questions remain, however, as to which public agency should serve as the Lead Agency for the preparation and review of the EIR. According to CEQA a Lead Agency “is the public agency that has the primary responsibility for approving a project that may have a significant impact upon the environment.” (http://resources.ca.gov/ceqa/flowchart/lead_agency.html). Furthermore, CEQA clarifies that “The Lead Agency will normally be the agency with general governmental powers, such as a city or county, rather than an agency with a single or limited purpose such as an air pollution control district or a district which will provide a public service or public utility to the project.” (http://resources.ca.gov/ceqa/guidelines/art4.html#15051) CEQA also requires that the EIR address the entire project.
W.A.T.E.R. is concerned that the APCD will have neither the expertise nor the enforcement capabilities to conduct a thorough and effective EIR. When the previous owner of this property operated a water only bottling plant, the County neglected Lead Agency responsibility and it fell to another limited purpose agency, the Regional Water Control Board, which never conducted a thorough EIR and never enforced the inadequate Mitigated Negative Declaration eventually adopted. As this project will also include the need for Crystal Geyser to connect to the City of Mount Shasta’s wastewater treatment plant, W.A.T.E.R. sees the City of Mount Shasta as the logical Lead Agency for this project. The City of Mount Shasta already had experience in preparing for a Crystal Geyser EIR around a cancelled sewer upgrade project, of which Crystal Geyser was to be the primary beneficiary.
W.A.T.E.R. is also concerned that Crystal Geyser pay for all costs of an EIR, as would any other developer, and not burden tax payers with this considerable expense.
W.A.T.E.R., the local community, and all those concerned about the environment will continue the effort to ensure that a thorough EIR be conducted and that it will consider all aspects of Crystal Geyser’s operations such as industrial water extraction and consequent possible groundwater depletion during historic drought conditions, effects on local domestic wells within the shared aquifer, pollution from plastic bottle production, pollution from industrial waste, plant noise, air pollution and odors, truck traffic, general plant aesthetics on our scenic rural environment and the ability of the City waste treatment plant to process the plant’s effluent.
Geneva Omann, Secretary of W.A.T.E.R., a 501(c)3 organization, stated: “The entire community will be watching this EIR process and wants to participate to ensure we have effective protection of our community and our precious natural environment.”
At this time, W.A.T.E.R. will continue to pursue its lawsuit challenging County zoning problems and ground water extraction permit issues around Crystal Geyser as these are still outstanding and of concern. (http://cawater.net/Documents/WATER_PR_8-24-15.pdf)
Posted August 26, 2015
W.A.T.E.R. Files Lawsuit Against
Crystal Geyser and Siskiyou County
After 2 years of attempting to work with local government agencies to obtain a fair Environmental Impact Report (EIR), W.A.T.E.R. has filed a “Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief” against Crystal Geyser Water Company and Siskiyou County. The complaint was filed in Napa County Superior Court, the location of Crystal Geyser Water Company’s corporate offices.
The complaint states Crystal Geyser Water Company’s planned operation of a bottling facility for the processing of teas and other beverages, including the production of plastic bottles, is inconsistent with the Siskiyou County Zoning Ordinance and the Siskiyou County General Plan as the facility is located in a “Woodland Productivity” overlay, which designates the land for light-industrial use, not heavy-industrial use. The lawsuit also claims that the Crystal Geyser’s operations will violate the County’s groundwater ordinances, which provide that it is unlawful to extract groundwater for use outside the basin from which it was extracted without obtaining a written permit from the County.
If the County moves forward with this project, the County must issue discretionary permits for the operation of the Mt. Shasta Crystal Geyser facility. At this point, Crystal Geyser must comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), including the creation of a complete CEQA review of the proposed operation, including evaluation of all potential environmental hazards of the Crystal Geyser project, groundwater depletion and consequent threats to neighboring residential and city wells, noise, energy consumption, nighttime lighting, plastics fumes, toxic waste disposal, and truck traffic. Such an independent environmental review is necessary to protect the community against these hazards, to preserve the character and livability of this community, and to impose mandatory monitoring and regulation of the facility if and when it begins operation.
See full W.A.T.E.R. press release HERE
See Lawsuit Press Coverage on Media Page
See text of lawsuit HERE
Local home owners
continue their second year of baseline groundwater testing to protect themselves when then plant comes on line.
Basic Plant Outline
Here you will find the basic history of the site and the plans Crystal Geyser have for the bottling plant.
Emergency Drought Resolution
The Siskiyou Board of Supervisors renew the Emergency Drought Resolution that says domestic wells take priority.