A northern Wisconsin couple planned to bottle and sell water from a well on their land near Lake Superior, but the proposal was shot down after many residents voiced fears those plans would harm the area watershed.
The Bayfield County Planning and Zoning Committee denied the proposal following a public hearing Thursday, when residents voiced opposition to the couple’s plans. The plan raised concerns over whether it violated the intent of a landmark agreement that aims to prevent water diversions outside the Great Lakes basin.
Herbster couple Kristle Majchrzak and Robert Glau applied for a conditional use permit with the county in February for their company, Kristle KLR, to install underground storage tanks that would capture water from an artesian well on roughly 40 acres of land in Bayfield County. The water would then be collected by tanker trucks and transported off site to be bottled at a facility in Superior. The couple proposed selling the water in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as online to customers across the country.
The couple’s plans prompted more than 60 letters of opposition, according to county officials. Some neighbors said the proposal violates the spirit of the Great Lakes Compact. The agreement signed by eight Great Lakes governors in 2008 aims to protect the lakes from threats to divert water outside the basin.
"Our waters are an ecosystem we all share, not a commodity for the profit of a few," wrote Herbster farmer Claire Hintz to the committee. "The Governor's Compact was intended to keep all of the Great Lakes' waters in the watershed."
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