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What Is Crystal Geyser Up To?

We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review

Dec 14, 2015 — The latest actions by Crystal Geyser (CG) call into serious question its much-touted “awareness” of the need for an Environment Impact Review (EIR). Everything the company is doing seems to be geared towards opening the plant without an EIR. At this time construction at the plant is proceeding and Crystal Geyser refuses to submit any permit applications that could trigger an EIR.

Polluting Boilers Installed
On September 29 Crystal Geyser submitted an application to the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control Board (APCD) to install four steam boilers in their Mount Shasta beverage plant (and plans show that a total of six boilers will eventually be installed). According to Crystal Geyser’s application these boilers will emit over 17 thousand tons of carbon dioxide a year in addition to thousands of pounds of other pollutants and poisons.

Amazingly, but unsurprisingly, the APCD approved installation of these boilers with no environmental impact report (EIR), using the excuse that each boiler by itself is below the amount requiring an environmental review, but refusing to consider them as a whole. By this logic there is no limit at all to the amount of steam boilers CG can install. But Crystal Geyser was so impatient to start polluting they installed the boilers before the permit to construct was granted, causing the County to fine them a thousand dollars for the violations. Crystal Geyser seems to want to take all sorts of shortcuts to get this plant in operation.

Diesel Generator Planned
Crystal Geyser has told the APCD it is also planning to install a large diesel electrical generator at the plant to supply additional power to the plant until the power system to the plant is upgraded. This power line and substation upgrade could take years; in the mean time subjecting our area to huge amounts of diesel exhaust pollution and noise all day and night. This generator needs to be permitted and environmentally reviewed, but no application has yet been filed and no environmental review has been done. Pacific Power has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to rebuild the large electrical substation on S. Old Stage Rd. and enlarge the power lines to the Crystal Geyser plant. This also requires an environmental review, but amazingly even though Crystal Geyser is a major reason for this upgrade, Pacific Power is not including the Crystal Geyser plant in its proposed environmental assessment. WA.T.E.R. and others in the community have filed protests with CPUC over this flagrant oversight.

Propane Tanks Installed with no inspection
Crystal Geyser has also installed a 30,000 gallon propane tank as well as large liquid carbon dioxide and nitrogen tanks next to the plant. Installation of the propane tank requires a permit and inspection from the State Department of Industrial Relations but upon investigation W.A.T.E.R. found that no inspections or permits have been done. The Crystal Geyser plant is also located in a designated High Fire Hazard Zone. The National Fire Protection Act requires a Fire Risk Analysis be done on the potentially very flammable and explosive propane tank. W.A.T.E.R. has found that this analysis has not been done. W.A.T.E.R. has filed a protest with the State Dept. of Industrial Relations about these dangerous shortcuts by Crystal Geyser.

Waste Treatment Building Going In
For months the City of Mount Shasta has been waiting to receive an application from Crystal Geyser for a permit to connect to the City’s waste treatment plant. But the City has heard nothing from CG about this, leaving everyone in the dark as to what CG is planning. Meanwhile CG is now constructing a new building to house a “Waste Water pH Neutralization system”. According to an email sent out by Crystal Geyser’s Communications Manager, Jill Harris this system is being installed to ensure all discharge going to the City Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) has been effectively neutralized. The letter goes on to state:
We will not proceed with wastewater discharges from the Neutralization system to the City sewer until we have obtained a City Wastewater Permit. We understand that this permit is discretionary and will require environmental review. We are prepared to address this and all other environmental impacts in the course of the previously announced EIR

But no application to connect to the City has been submitted and no environmental review has been done. Just like the boiler being installed before the permit to construct was granted and the propane tanks installed with no inspection or permit, CG is building a treatment process building before any permit to connect to the WWTP has been granted. It is W.A.T.E.R.’s belief that there are serious environmental concerns around this plant and this sewer connection permit is dependent upon an environmental review. However, Crystal Geyser has announced it plans to begin with production of sparkling water only, this could be done without a connection to the City sewer system, using the on site leach field to dump rinse water. It seems like CG wants to have the entire plant built and operating before any environmental review is done, once more impatiently putting its own needs first. Crystal Geyser has made much public relation noise about “becoming aware” of the need for an EIR, but has so far refused to submit any permit applications that would trigger the need to conduct one. What are they waiting for?

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