LANSING — Just $5,000 down and $200 per year.
That’s how much Michigan is getting from Nestlé Waters North America Inc. to pump more than 210 million gallons of water per year from one Osceola County well for its Ice Mountain brand. Critics say those rates, set by the state Department of Environmental Quality, are a steal.
But Michigan isn’t alone. Nationwide, longstanding laws allows water bottlers to pump lots of water at little cost.
“It’s totally typical,” said Noah Hall, a professor of environment and water law at Wayne State University. “Whether you’re taking the water for growing crops, building widgets, drinking water or bottling it, we don’t pay.”