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Ahead of Tuesday’s annual hearing by BlueTriton Brands (BlueTriton) before the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners, Unbottle and Protect Chaffee County Water (Unbottle-Protect.org) has scheduled an informal community conversation about the content of the annual report required by the BoCC. The session is set for 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 pm. Monday, April 11 at a new venue in Salida; The Velveteen at 115 G St. in Salida.

Members of 350 Central Colorado and Nestleave: Unbottle and Protect Chaffee County Water demonstrated Oct. 6 at the county building against renewing a permit to allow Nestle to continue to pump local spring water for its Arrowhead bottled water brand. Dan Smith photo

The permit for Nestle/BlueTriton requires that “multiple annual determinations that the permit is not in good standing are grounds for suspension or revocation of the permit.”

The full annual report is a door-stop-size 545 pages. The Unbottle and  Protect Chaffee County Water group  established itself early-on as an opponent of the permit. It is now a 501(c)(3) operating as a watchdog organization to increase oversight and transparency.

There will be two ways to hear the Nestle/BlueTriton presentation:

  • The hearing before the BoCC is scheduled for the Buena Vista Community Center, 715 East Main St., Tues, April 19. The BoCC agenda has it set for 1:00 p.m., but as in many instances on large BoCC agendas, that time is tentative.
  • Or, you can Zoom in: https://zoom.us/j/109079543

Written comments can be submitted before noon on Friday, April 15 to the county commissioners and to the county administrative assistant: kbaker@chaffeecounty.org; rgranzella@chaffeecounty.org; gfelt@chaffeecounty.org;chaffeeadmin@chaffeecounty.org

A few highlights from the report:

  • The trucks get 6 miles per gallon, and in 2021, they made 2,725 trips between the Truck Loading Facility in Johnson Village and the Denver bottling plant. Only 3 of their truck drivers live within 25 miles of Chaffee County. (page 454).
  • BlueTriton still has not completed the agreed conservation easement, as promised in 2009, “concurrent with the construction of the project.” (page 40)
  • In 2021, they pumped on average 62,465 gallons of water per day. But last summer the Arkansas River Valley was classified as being in extreme drought conditions (page 197).
  • BlueTriton donated 42,099 single-use plastic bottles of water in 2021 to organizations in Colorado as a “benefit” (page 33). Organizers against the permit have made note that single-use plastic bottles have no place in the county’s landfill, which has a limited lifespan.