Planners suggest pulling plug on water bottling plan

A proposal to allow water-bottling operations on agricultural lands was handed a setback Wednesday by Walla Walla County Planning Commissioners.
After hearing dozens of oppositional comments from a standing-room-only crowd, Planning Commissioners, with two members absent, voted 3-2 to recommend denial of the zoning code amendments sought by Perry and Darlene Dozier.
Perry Dozier is a former County Commissioner whose farm is located near Waitsburg.
The Doziers’ application seeks to have a new definition added to the county code to allow pumping, bottling and distribution of water obtained from land where the bottling would occur.
Dozier said he and his wife plan to establish a small bottling plant at their farm using water from a deep, basalt well on site and sell the bottled water via direct delivery, regional shipments or Internet sales.
In her comments, Darlene Dozier said their business concept was created “out of our desire to supply water for consumption that is in its purest form from the rich basalt layers of the earth …” and that the containers used would be glass or plastic that could be recycled to minimize their impact on the environment.
But the overwhelming majority of comments given by people at the hearing as well as those submitted in writing were in objection to the Doziers’ proposal.
People expressed great concern that allowing bottled-water operations would deplete water resources while the manufacture and transport of bottles would pollute the environment.

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