Nestle’s Ice Mountain Water Leaves Nothing for Michigan’s Trout

The trout are missing from creeks in Michigan, and citizen conservationists say bottled water giant Nestle — which has been pumping hundreds of gallons of water a minute from the state’s groundwater for 15 years — is responsible. Before Nestle moved in and depleted the creeks’ ground source, these streams were full of trout, NRDC reports.

Nestle’s own water survey showed their operation could lower streams and wetlands and damage local ecosystems, but that didn’t stop them from asking for, and receiving, permission from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to increase the take from 250 gallons per minute to 400 gallons. The DEQ granted this, despite 80,000 public comments protesting the move. And, for the record, even though Nestle labels the Michigan water as “Ice Mountain,” there are no mountains within hundreds of miles of the operation.

Nestle also happens to be the bottlers of Poland Spring water, which came under fire in 2017 for allegedly not being “spring” water at all. Even though Nestle insists they are meeting FDA standards to label it “spring water,” a class action lawsuit claims it’s nothing but regular groundwater, as the original Poland Spring dried up 50 years ago.

Labeling aside, bottled water — which most buy under the impression that it’s somehow safer and more pure than regular tap water — is not what you think. For example, researchers tested 259 bottles of 11 popular water brands for the presence of microscopic plastic, and only 17 of those bottles were found to be free of the microplastic particles. And guess what? The worst offender was Nestle Pure Life, which contained 10,390 microplastic particles per liter.

If drinking tiny pieces of plastic isn’t enough to prove what’s in those plastic bottles isn’t all you think, then you should also be aware that 50 percent of bottled water sold actually comes from municipal water supplies and a good percentage of the rest is sourced from groundwater reservoirs — the very places that many municipalities source their water before treatment. In other words, many of the sources for the bottled water you buy come from the very same places from which your tap water is being sourced.

This is why I encourage you never to buy something that comes in plastic, including, and especially, water. To achieve a clean water supply when you are on a municipal water system, your best bet is to add a filtration system and carry your own water with you in glass or stainless steel containers. Ideally, your best bet is to filter the water at both the point of entry into your home and the point of use. This means installing filters where water enters your home and again at your kitchen sink and showers.
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