DNR: Elko New Market can pump more groundwater to supply bottled water plant

A close-up of a water tower
The Elko New Market water tower stands above a neighborhood in town, pictured on June 6.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

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The DNR approval allows plans to build a new bottling plant in the city to move forward. Some residents complained about a reduction in water quality during recent testing for the project.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has authorized the city of Elko New Market to pump more groundwater to provide to a proposed bottled water plant.

A California-based company, Niagara Bottling, plans to build a facility to produce bottled beverages in the Scott County city south of the Twin Cities metro.

On Wednesday, the DNR said it approved an amended permit allowing the city to more than double its water use, from 135 million gallons to 365 million gallons per year. Elko New Market requested the increase to provide water to the Niagara plant, and to accommodate other growth in the community.

Elko New Market draws its water from the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer, the source of drinking water for many in the Twin Cities metro area. The DNR said its test results show the increase would not negatively affect aquifer levels or nearby lakes, rivers and streams.

Some area residents with private wells complained their water became discolored and cloudy while the city conducted the aquifer test late last year. The DNR said water quality changes from alterations in pumping rates can happen, but generally are resolved shortly after the testing is complete.

Elko New Market will be required to investigate and address any potential impacts on nearby private wells.