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Nestle corporation & McCloud's aquifer agua theft

by reclaim the commons Friday, Aug. 25, 2006 at 5:40 PM

Water bottling giant Nestle corporation is pressuring McCloud residents to read two thick volumes of EIR before public comment period ends. Risks to aquifer and ecosystem following massive water withdrawal by Nestle are long term, more time needed to review EIR..

Recently Nestle merged with Dreyer Ice Cream to open a large mega-dairy processing operation in Bakersfield, CA. Based on Nestle/Carnation/Dreyer's megadairy processing facility aquifer drawdown and related industrial mega-dairy ROG (reactive organic gas, nitrate runoff, etc..) pollution activities in Bakersfield, greater San Joaquin Valley, etc.. the recent struggle between residents of McCloud, CA and Nestle about aquifer water rights could provide NorCal activists chances to network with other water/animal/eco rights activists in SoCal when taking on Nestle corporation's water heists..

article database on mega-dairy air pollution @;

Mega-dairy factory farms are exempt from taking large shares of ground and river water and returning polluted water to watershed. Dairy processing centers like Nestle/Dreyers operations in Bakersfield profit from the government's giveaway of public commons (aquifer/rio water) to mega-dairy corporations..

"The Water Board the agency that implements state and federal clean water laws waived the requirement to obtain a water pollution control permit for approximately eight hundred confined animal facilities."

more info on water giveaways to mega-dairies @;

another good mega-dairies in SJ valley article @;

Nestle's mega-dairy farms help themselves to the scarce water supply in the San Joaquin Valley, now Nestle wants to take the pristine aquifer water from the McCloud river in NorCal. What could be a better common threat than Nestle/Dreyer corporation to bring SoCal & NorCal activists together in reclaiming their communities water rights??

Background on Nestle's attempted heist of McCloud River water. This article from the 2005/06 winter Ecoecho newsletter from Mt. Shasta Bioregional Center..

"Update on Nestle's Bottling Plant Threatening Mount Shasta's Aquifer

by Diane Lowe, Concerned McCloud Citizen

It has been two years since Nestle snuck into McCloud and within three months sweet talked our McCloud Community Services Board (MCSD) into signing a 100 year deal for the sale and purchase of spring water from McCloud's three springs. The District agreed to multiple terms of which the most egregious is the sale of the insufferable amount of 1,250 gallons of spring water per minute to be bottled at a plant in McCloud, becoming one of the biggest water bottling facilities in the country. The district would drill bore holes and wells for the proposed plant. At full build out, the plant size, one building, could accommodate every existing building in the community of McCloud.

The project is pending however, based on the completion of the CEQA processes and the results of a court appeal by Nestle. Not only is our watershed threatened by this sale, but hopes for a solid diversely based and economically sustainable community of McCloud is at risk.

The Siskiyou County planning department has announced that it is attempting to release the Nestle Waters of North America draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared by Pacific Municipal Consultants of Mount Shasta, related to this contract. The environmental review document is slated to be issued before the end of 2005 or early next year. The public will have 45 days to participate in the written responses under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)...forty five days to respond to a report that will have an effect on the area for 100 years.

Plans are to have an informational meeting in McCloud within two weeks of the release of the EIR. Those associated with or questioning the contract will participate at this event. Several weeks later, we will host several work sessions, one in McCloud and the other in Mount Shasta. At that time several EIR special-ists will be available to help sort through the issues.

Nestle is moving along rapidly. Their purchase offer of the CalCedar mill site was accepted in July of 2004, with a closing date pending the issuance of permits related to the project, according to Dave Palais, Nestle's water resource manager. Instead, he has announced that the property may close escrow as early as the end of this year or early next. With this purchase come the rights to acquire more water and the options for water rights associated with the Cal Cedar mill. The water rights entitle the owner to use approximately 5,400 gallons of water per minute flowing from the McCloud River out of Lakin Dam (Upper McCloud) onto the mill site via a 22 inch pipe, the Mount Shasta Herald reported earlier this year. The McCloud Services District has also claimed this water for emergency and a back-up water supply. Palais has stated that they may not determine how they will use this water until the discretionary permits are in place concerning the purchase and sale of spring water from McCloud's three springs. This excessive amount of water draw is sure to be examined by the state agencies involved. The endangered Sheepheaven Trout (red band trout) still survive in the McCloud River watershed above the Lakin Dam.

As readers may recall, Concerned McCloud Citizens were pleased when Siskiyou County Superior Court Judge Roger Kosel ruled in March 2005, in favor of our lawsuit requesting that the contract between Nestle and the McCloud Community Services District (MCSD) be set aside. Judge Kosel ruled on the grounds that Nestle and the MCSD were not in compliance with CEQA as no environmental review had been completed before the MCSD signed the contract with Nestle.

On July 23, 2005, Nestle returned to court requesting that certain clauses remain intact concerning the contract. Nestle argued that only those subject to the CEQA process should be voided, leaving the remaining issues, including economics and contract length intact. Judge Kosel ruled that the entire contract would remain void because the signing of the contract constituted an initial and integral state of the proposed project.

Nestle and the MCSD immediately announced that they would appeal the rulings. With many people in McCloud voicing their concerns over this project, it is surprising that the District Board remains deaf to the voices of their constituency. To date the appeal has not been filed.

The services district signed this contract without historical measurements of the water flows of the three springs, and yet, the contract awarded rights to drill at all three springs. New data indicates the flow figures were overstated by more than 40% at the contract signing.

Protecting our water resources of the McCloud watershed and that of Mount Shasta's aquifers is of vital importance to all of us. The water companies and water purveyors clearly have identified the Mount Shasta region's source waters as being some of the best water in the country. Other springs in the region are threatened. We are continuing to study this potential water mining and water draws elsewhere and to supply this information to those who request it.

We can be reached via concernedmccloudcitizens [at] earthlink.net.

If you have not done so, please request a copy of the NWNA/MCSD Spring Water Sales Environmental Impact Report from the Planning Department, Siskiyou County, P.O. Box 1085, Yreka, CA 96097."

entire article and other econews @ "Ecoecho";


Ecoecho's 2006 summer/fall issue here, update on Nestle/McCould on pdf;

With regards to local community organizing to prevent aquifer agua theft by Nestle corporation in McCloud, here's some future meetings;

Tues Aug 22 7-9pm
Mt. Shasta City Park Recreation Building (down the hill near headwaters of Rio Sac)

Weds Aug 23rd 7-9pm
College of the Siskiyous (Weed)
McCloud Hall 3

Thurs Aug 24 7-9 pm
Dunsmuir Community Center

Fri Aug 25 7-9 pm
McCloud Elementary School

This info from Siskyou Water Network. Please attend meeting and offer support for community autonomy of aquifers, ecostewardship and NO to Nestle's corporate profit motives. Any ideas for politely asking Coca-cola/Dannon to clean up, pack up and leave Mt. Shasta would also be appreciated..

Boicott Coca-cola @;

Public review for Nestle's Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) ends Aug 28, 2006 (extended to Sept. 12, 2006)

Siskiyou county info on Nestle's DEIR @;

local community group dedicated to protecting McCloud River watershed;

McCloud Watershed Council @;

BTW, Coca-cola/Dannon Mt. Shasta bottling plant is today finishing up a chain link barbed wire fence around their truck delivery entrance. Perhaps the Coca-cola corporation fears some theft of their agua "property"?

Down the hill on Mt. Shasta Blvd is the free spring access for the headwaters of the Rio Sacramento, Coca-cola is across the street and uphill of the headwaters spring, sucking out millions of gallons of aquifer agua for profit. What sort of toxic compounds can people expect to enter the Rio Sac headwaters if an aquifer cavern collapses from Coca-cola's excess draw up of aquifer agua (no, that fancy barbed wire fence won't protect ya'll from that either)? Sure that you want to give Nestle the chance to do the same in McCloud's aquifer??

Let's not forget that many indigenous nations also reside along the McCloud Rio, specifically the Winnemem Wintu who require the pristine waters of the McCloud River to continue surviving as a culturally and spiritually intact peoples.

More on NorCal's sovereign indigenous nations @;

Sometimes it is good to learn from other communites who have successfully (or not) resisted corporate water bottlers from draining the lifeblood aquifers of their community;

What is recorded of Nestle's experiences with aquifer agua withdrawal in Florida is cavern collapse and toxic leaching into the watersheds. Even during times of drought, Nestle corporation remains thirsty for profits..

"Take, for example, the case of Nestle (a prominent member of the IBWA) in Pasco County, Florida, where, despite the fact that the region was hit with serious drought conditions in 2000-2001, the company demanded a permit to increase its water takings from 301,000 gallons to 1.8 million gallons per day."

article continues @;

Court case, Michigan ecoactivists vs. Nestle;


water for life, not profit (Michigan activists) @;

blogsite about Nestle/McCloud @;

other agua news @;

What's misleading/missing from Nestle's DEIR? Nestle's fallacies of logic exposed in their DEIR;

The meeting last night (Aug 22nd) in Mt. Shasta City Park had a great turnout of the public who heard info from several volunteers about crucial info either missing or misleading in the Nestle's DEIR. Public comment period on the 500+ page two volume DEIR (DEIR cost of $300.00, limited hours of availability, try spending your day reading EIRs, lotsa fun, eh?) is now extended til Sept 12th, many are asking for an additional extension due to the large volume of details and missing.inaccurate info..

Some examples of Nestle DEIR's inaccuracy are assumptions of average truck driving distance of only 19 miles, when Redding is 68 miles away from their site.. (regards air quality impacts of added NOx [nitrogen dioxides] emmisions from additional truck traffic in region.)

300 trucks coming and going into McCloud would require alterations (acceleration lane, signal, winter chain station, etc..) to the already steep slopes of Highway 89..

Global warming and seasonal drought info was convieniently omitted from the EIR, claiming that Shasta's glacial melting and loss over the 100 year contract between Nestle and McCloud would permit Nestle to continue removing their millions of gallons per year despite predicted drops in the aquifer. Instead the residents of McCloud (& aquatic residents downstream) would be advised to restrict their daily living water consumption while Nestle continue to extract their millions of gallons for profit. To quote an actual number of millions of gallons per year isn't accurate either because Nestle can take as much as they want if there isn't any agency regularly monitoring, their window of permitted takes is quite expansive..

The five year monitoring period following the beginning of Nestle's drawdown of aquifer is insufficient to gauge whether Nestle's take is having an adverse effect, though the five year monitoring is actually listed as mitigation for many of the DEIR's impacts..

The millions of gallons of aquifer water removed would increase the water temps and effect riparian ecosystem. Effects of eutrophication (algae bloom from nitrates) would be increased since cold fresh spring water quantity would be reduced by Nestle's take, increased water temps and less dilution could result in algae bloom when McCloud river's velocity slows upon entering Shasta Lake's arm..

The Winnemem Wintu nation depends on the McCloud river's clean water access for ceremonial sites, and algae blooms would discourage their participation..

Shasta Rainbow trout and (Fluminicola seminalis) aquatic snails, both endemic species of the McCloud watershed, are also at risk from altered riparian conditions from Nestle's excessive springwater pumping..

BLM lists reduction of water flows as risks to Fluminicola seminalis;

"Reductions in water flow by water diversions resulting in elimination or reduction of aquatic habitat for this snail."

Fluminicola seminalis fact sheet @;

The Shasta Rainbow trout remains in the McCloud;

"The world-famous Shasta rainbow trout shares the waters with the exotic (non-native) brown trout, first introduced by sportsmen in the mid-1930s. The McCloud was formerly the southernmost refuge for the bull trout or "Dolly Varden," which is, like the Shasta rainbow, a member of the salmon family. Although once a common sight, the bull trout has not been seen in the McCloud since 1975 and has been declared locally extinct."

from McCloud River preserve @;

Many other points about info missing from DEIR were made last night, though due to time constraints cannot be published on imc today. Would suggest attending one of the meeting mentioned in comments above to find out more info..

On another note Aug 22, 2006 is the nine year anniversary of the death of five year old Forrest Hernandez who died suddenly after drinking creek water contaminated by chromium VI, a toxic byproduct of "Remco" corporation's nearby chome plating factory in Willits (Mendocino)..

"Hernandez v. Remco seeks damages against Remco and against Mendocino County officials for covering up and destroying evidence in the unusual death of five-year-old Hernandez, who died of internal bleeding August 22, 1997, after ingesting a small amount of water from Baechtel Creek in the hills outside Willits, three miles upstream from the Remco site."

"The Remco plant in Willits is one of 72 toxic sites around the country owned by Whitman Corporation, (see http://www.whitmancorp.com), now known as PepsiAmericas, Inc., owners of Midas Mufflers, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Aquafina, Ocean Spray juices, Tropicana, So-Be drinks, and Quaker Oats foods, and a division of DuPont also affiliated with PepsiCo and Frito-Lay. ###"

more info @;

The Remco site in Willits remains closed since 1995 and has yet to be cleaned up. Ironically another bottled water/soft drink giant Pepsi is responsible for cleaning up after their subsidiary Remco, though refuses to do so..

The nine year anniversary of Forrest Hernandez's death and the first community meeting about Nestle's megabottling plant in McCloud on Aug 22nd reminds us that once a watershed is contaminated, it is VERY difficult to clean up. The responsible corporation (Remco, Nestle, etc..) usually leaves town following the "accident" (ie, aquifer cavern collapse, toxic metal leaching, etc..) with no reparations and leaves the PEOPLE (not city/county council politicians) to foot the (unaffordable) bill of clean-up and continue living, eating and drinking next to the contaminated site..

Preventing the Nestle megabottling facility on the McCloud River aquifer is possible and probable following succesful community organizing and networking with other community groups who have already dealt with Nestle. Then there's the eviction of Coca-cola/Dannon from the Sacramento aquifer/headwaters, though that's for another story..

Specific impact/mitigation errors, inaccuracies and assumptions found in Nestle's Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR);

The 500+ plus page (300.00 dollar cost) DEIR for Nestle's McCloud megabottling facility contains numerous errors, fallacies and assumptions. Nestle's strategy is making the DEIR appear so intimidating and threatening in sheer volume of paper (aka dead trees) that the public won't feel motivated to pick it up and look through it. However, upon further examination, Nestle's DEIR is full of as many holes in logic as Swiss cheese..

Here are just a few examples;

Impact 3.4.1; Air impact, dust from contruction. Mitigation; dust abatement (ie. truck spraying water on ground).

Impact 3.3.1; Truck traffic, 15% (45 trucks/day) head east on Hgwy 89, 85% (255 trucks/day) head west on 89, traffic build-up on Squaw Valley road intersection. Mitigation; traffic signal, 0.2 mile acceleration lane. Without mitigation, residents spend 85% of time following 40 mph trucks, with mitigation, residents spend 65% of time following 40 mph trucks.

Impact 3.7.4; Noise pollution of 24/7 bottling facility. Hums, clanging and other factory noises disturb peaceful setting of McCloud. Mitigation; "sound-proof" concrete wall.

Noise will not go away because of a barrier wall, the quality of life for McCloud residents/visitors will be forever (100 year contract) altered if Nestle begins operation. The allowable 5 decibel increase of Nestle's operations is on an exponential scale.

Impact 3.5.18; Biological impact on Squaw Valley Creek from excess aquifer/headwater withdrawal/export by Nestle. Mitigation; Five year monitoring study (NO BASELINE DATA EXISTS!) that would cease following five year period.

McCloud river rainbow trout depend on Squaw Valley Creek as spawning ground. Approx. water take by Nestle is estimated to be at least 1,600 acre feet/year (over 1/2 billion gallons/year). This indicates severe loss of cold water source needed by trout for maintaining high enough levels of dissolved oxygen for them to breathe. Removing excess quantities of cold water from spawning creek is similar to suffocating rainbow trout with a blanket.

Lack of baseline flow data for springs, streams and groundwater. Lack of baseline data for water budget (recharge/year), safe recharge yield and effects of prolonged drought (average drought lasts beyond five year monitoring period) and climate change indicate lack of planning and foresight in preparation of Nestle's DEIR..

The following impacts are listed under 'mitigation impossible' because Nestle knows that no mitigation exists beyond their "five year study" based on no initial data..

Impact 3.9.3; Erosion, siltation. Drilling wells and leveling of land for one million square foot building will alter topography to encourage erosion. Mitigation impossible.

Impact 3.9.4; Run-off. One million square foot building and additional parking/truck ramp will increase run-off surface area, introducing toxins from parking lot into tributary creeks. Mitigation impossible.

Impact 3.9.8; River water flow reduction. Less volume of cold spring water for downstream riparian habitat. Mitigation impossible.

Impact 3.5.20 Fluminicola aquatic snail. Endemic to McCloud ecosystem, depends on cold water. Mitigation impossible.

Impact 3.14.4; Cumulative impact. Over time the riparian habitat will lose biodiversity. Previous evidence with Nestle/Perrier/Zephyrhills aquifer drawdown (including aquifer cavern collapse, sinkholes, etc..) in Florida's Crystal Springs (headwaters of Hillsborough River) shows this is probable for McCloud. Mitigation impossible.

DEIR assumes peak water flows in summer simultaneous with peak consumption. Assumption based on previous study of larger "growing" glaciers on Shasta's shaded northern slope (Whitney, Bolam), while the smaller glaciers (Mud Creek, Konwakiton) feeding McCloud aquifer are located on sunny southern slope and would be more susceptible to loss following prolonged warming of climate (aka global warming)..

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) missing in DEIR for cleaning products "E-Vap-O-Clean", "Vortexx" used in Nestle's operation. These cleaning products would be stored in open waste ponds, though public is unaware of health risks from these products.

Socioeconomic factors;

McCloud is becoming popular with tourists from around the world, many small locally owned businesses thrive on the visitors to this pristine mountain streamside setting. The domination of Nestle's megabottling facility would decrease tourist revenue and result in dependecy on only one corporation with few local jobs. Modern megabottling facilities are nearly fully automated and require few employees for operation..

Nestle pays only 0.00014 cents/gallon for McCloud river water, though profits exponentially from selling their water in petrochemically derived toxin leaching plastic water bottles to consumers. Safe, clean and healthy water is a human right and cannot be sold for profit..

Winnemem Wintu nation depends on the McCloud River for ceremonial sites and food gathering. Wintu's cultural and spritual dependecy on a healthy McCloud river is ignored by Nestle's DEIR..



The community finds Nestle's DEIR as inadequate evidence of safety for the ecological and economic risks that will be taken and incurred by the greater McCloud bioregion..

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