So “They” plan to build a water bottling plant out there on Egan Slough! You may have heard that mentioned, or even read something in the paper about the Creston water bottling plant. You, by now, understand that “the applicant is planning full build-out of the water bottling plant in stages,” and plans to ultimately fill ONE BILLION, two HUNDRED MILLION, 20 ounce bottles each year, as stated in the DNRC permit application. You may ask, “So, what’s that to ME? and “That water plant is not in MY backyard.” That may be true, but the highway that the trucks, laden with OUR water must travel on, may very well be near you and have a great effect on you.
The bottling plant water consumption will result in a load of 15,323 TONS of water shipped from that proposed bottling plant every seven days and, as stated in the newspaper, the developer plans to ship 10 hours a day, six days a week, 52 weeks of the year. That will require a shipment load of TWO THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY FOUR TONS each day. The bottling plant on Egan Slough may NOT be in your backyard, but the trucks that ship those bottles may be present on the road you travel each morning, noon or night.
How many trucks will it take to haul all those bottles full of OUR water? Those “big rigs” you see on the highway have a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds. With a pay load of, perhaps, 35 tons, and TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE TONS to ship every hour, 10 hours a day, that requires a shipping schedule of 7.29 “big rigs” every hour, or ONE BIG RIG every 8.22 minutes, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week when the applicant reaches “full build-out” as intended in the permit application.
Let’s not overlook the fact that all of those trucks must return to reload! If those trailers are loaded by the night shift and ready to go at 7a.m., how long will the parade be on Highway 35 each morning when you are in a hurry to get to work? What about the school buses that stop and go transporting the school kids? How about fire trucks or emergency vehicles speeding along to attend to the injured driver who tried to pass up the “parade” and get to work on time?
Will you, (we), the taxpayers cover the cost of paving Egan Slough and Jaquette Roads up to highway standards to support those 80 thousand pound big rigs? If a traffic signal is required, so as to reduce potential road hazards at Jaquette road and Highway 35, will OUR taxes pay the cost? Finally, who will be the eventual owner of the bottling plant; Nestle, Coca Cola, Pepsi? Let’s face it, letting ANY water bottling plant, of ANY size, or ANY production limitation into this valley, or the rest of Montana is potentially dangerous and poor stewardship of our precious resources.
The precedent has been set by the DNRC, the DEQ, and the county commissioners by allowing a permitting process of this scope to proceed to this point without question and by failing to address the “full build out” result of this project. We, together as community, will become the “THEY,” when future generations ask,
…..“Why did “THEY” let this happen?” Voice your objections and stop this insidious intrusion. …….
As Margaret Mead so eloquently stated, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Bill and Nancy McGunagle