Water-bottling plant set to open in Miss. amid aquifer debate

Niagara Bottling will begin production later this spring in a $78 million, 554,000-square-foot building it purchased in Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park, located in Marshall County less than three miles southeast of Collierville.
The state of Mississippi, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the county all may provide aid and incentives for the company, which is hiring 38 workers.
Niagara initially will use up to 400,000 gallons of water a day provided by the Marshall County Water Association, which has two 650-foot-deep wells that the tap the Lower Wilcox aquifer.
The plant’s opening comes amid renewed concerns about the local aquifers — especially the Memphis Sand — that provide high-quality water for local utilities and industries.
Less certain, however, is the extent to which aquifers could sustain further pumping if water-bottling operations proliferate in the area, Waldron and other officials say.
Already, Niagara has indicated it might want to increase production in the future, Meadows said.
"We haven’t guaranteed them anything for that."
The Lower Wilcox is deeper than and distinct from the Memphis Sand, the saturated strata that supplies Shelby County utilities and industries with some 180 million gallons daily, Waldron said.
But in Marshall County, where there is little or no dense clay deposits separating them, the two aquifers possibly are somewhat connected, he said.
Efforts to contact representatives of the Ontario, California-based Niagara for comment were unsuccessful.

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