Dustin Hardwick with C Cartago Mutual Water Company expressing concerns over the potential effects a proposed CG Roxanne LLC project may have on their water supply wells.
Photo by Charles James
Inyo County Planning Commissioners denied a request from CG Roxanne LLC to amend a Conditional Use Permit for its expansion project 2-1 last week.
Wednesdayâ€™s Inyo County Planning Commission meeting got off to an emotional start as Vice Chair Cynthia Wahrenbrock, having just returned from out of town, learned of the passing of long-time commissioner Sam Wasson during her absence. Clearly shaken on hearing the news at the meeting, her voice broke as she opened the meeting and expressed her admiration and affection for Wasson. She took a few moments to acknowledge the loss to the community and the commission of a great man and extended her condolences to his family.
With only three of the five commission members present (Chair Ross Corner was absent), the commissioners held two public hearings to a large gathering in the Board of Supervisorsâ€™ meeting room.
The first hearing, which was followed up by an action item, involved Amendments to the Conditional Use Permits for Crystal Geyser/Roxanne to change a project description from building a new bottling facility supplied by water from three Cabin Bar Ranch wells using three 4-inch pipes to the existing bottling facility.
Objection to approval of the Amendments was voiced by Dustin Hardwick with the Cartago Mutual Water Company expressing concerns over the projectâ€™s potential effects on their water supply wells. A letter was submitted to the commission from Taber Consultants outlining concerns and issues.
Another objection to the Amendments was raised by the Sierra Club Range of Light Group in a three-page letter written by Mark Bagley and read to the commissioners by Mary Roper. An attachment to the letter from Bagley was an investigative order letter to CG Roxanne (Crystal Geyser) from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board stating that further investigation may be necessary to address concerns of waste discharges and impacts to surface and/or groundwater quality and beneficial uses under the companyâ€™s current practices. Wastewater ponds were found to be of concern with findings of high concentrations of arsenic and metals.
Corporate Quality Control Manager at CG Roxane LLC, George Castaneda, addressed the concerns voiced to the board saying that the company is working with the LRWQCB to correct the concerns quickly and that there is no threat to public safety as bottled water has very high standards required under law and that they are meeting those standards. Castaneda also said that water from the Cabin Bar Ranch did not have contaminants.
The Amendment issue revolved ultimately, not on water quality issues or amount of pumping, but on whether or not CG Roxanne could proceed with laying the pipe from the Cabin Bar Ranch to the original facility. The groundwater monitoring program already included in the planning could not be done until the piping was laid. The groundwater monitoring program was a concern as well of Cartago resident Troy Patton in his remarks to the board.
The final vote to approve the Amendments was 2-1, with Jim Gentry and Bill Stoll voting â€śYes,â€ť and Wahrenbrock voting â€śNo.â€ť