Crystal Geyser plans bottling plant expansion

Crystal Geyser promotes its bottled water as “the only major U.S. spring water bottled exclusively at the source.” The company shows eight sources, and the one in Olancha has plans for expansion.

The public can now comment on a Draft Environmental Impact Report on Crystal Geyser’s expansion plan for a 198,500 square foot bottling plant with four bottling lines and a 40,000 square foot warehouse. The site would take in about 35 acres of the Cabin Bar Ranch near Cartago. The comment period ends October 1.

According to the Inyo County Planning Department, Crystal Geyser would extract water from three existing on-site wells in the shallow aquifer up to 360 acre feet per year. It is unknown how many jobs the expansion might include or the tax contribution to Inyo County.

Planners say that the company will have to go through a General Plan Amendment for land use designation changes, a Zone Reclassification and a Conditional Use Permit. Construction would take place in three phases over a number of years with build-out anticipated in 2025-2027.

The public can check out the environmental documents at all Inyo libraries, the Inyo Planning Department office or on the website,


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35 Responses to Crystal Geyser plans bottling plant expansion

  1. johndoeml August 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    How are they able to expand without LADWP going after them? Not critical, just curious.

    • Benett Kessler August 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      LADWP apparently does not own the water rights on the Cabin Bar Ranch.

  2. andrew August 31, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Now this makes me wonder, why DWP gets all the flack for pumping the water out of Inyo, I might add they deserve it, how does Crystal Geyser do what ever they want with our water, as an Olancha resident of 50years, I wonder what is going to happen when our watertable starts to drop, who is going to come to our aid? Do you think CGRoxanne will be there for the people of Olancha?

    • Trouble August 31, 2012 at 9:56 am #

      It would take a lot of bottle water to effect our water levels. I think it is great that a large company is going to expand in the Owens. I hope Mammoth Brewery comes to Bishop also. I hope our city council folks are bright enough to do all they can to help them succeed here ASAP. It’s called good jobs.

      • Scott August 31, 2012 at 11:47 am #

        I agree with Trouble, I think this expansion could be great for the Owens Valley. Crystal Geyser has been very generous and good to the Lone Pine School District.

    • Ken Warner September 1, 2012 at 8:32 am #

      I think it’s a matter of scale. LADWP pumps close to a hundred thousand acre feet of ground water per year. I doubt CG pumps half that much.

      But that’s a good question to ask. How much water does CG bottle per year?

    • Ken Warner September 1, 2012 at 8:33 am #

      Oh, the answer is in the article. 360 acre feet per year.

  3. taxifornia August 31, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Bring it on.. the AREA needs the jobs and Taxifornia needs the taxes

    unless they plan on building an automated plant..

  4. Mr. Chow August 31, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    DWP only has surface water rights.

    • Trouble August 31, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      Mr. Chow- if that’s correct, why does DWP have so many pumps and wells?

      • Benett Kessler August 31, 2012 at 11:48 am #

        LADWP does claim groundwater rights in the Owens Valley. I don’t know about the Olancha area.

        • Big AL September 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

          They claim most water rights Benett, there are pockets of water rights privately owned by citizens. Just as with the case at the bottling plant.

  5. Mr. Chow August 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Apologies. They may have some groundwater rights but if they do then they aren’t pumping from that area.

  6. salblaster August 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    crystal geyser is already automated,state of the art bottling plant. i think you would be suprised at how much water is trucked out daily. its not a couple of guys with a garden hose. also the geothermal power plants at coso south of olancha recently aquired water rights from rose valley and built a pipeline supplying water to reinject back into the ground, as the process of removing steam from the ground has depleted the original ground water and their wells were running dry. at the end of the day its a little more water out of the valley. i also have friends who work at crystal geyser and know it employees lots of locals ,so i’m a little flip floppy on this matter.

    • Big AL August 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

      No .. the water is injected to make more steam .. it isn’t depleting the ground water. They are injecting the water into the fissures, to create more steam. They are not sucking the ground water dry at the site. nice try though.

      • Mark September 1, 2012 at 7:10 am #

        They actually did suck all the ground water try at the site Big Al. I’m pretty sure that’s why they ran the pipe line to Rose Valley. You’re going to have a hard time convincing me that water ever makes it back to the Rose Valley aquafier.

    • sarah September 1, 2012 at 8:10 am #

      They are tapping into the aquifer at Little Lake Ranch as well. The ranch fought it for years but Coso won. I don’t know if it affects the lake drastically though. It appears to be at the same level as it usually is.

  7. Big AL August 31, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    hehe flip floppy .. I like that.

  8. salblaster September 1, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    big al i was under the assumption that ground water and well head steam presure were directly related and that a decrease in steam presure was caused by a decrease in available ground water seeping back down to the depth where volcanic activity heats it up, and over the last fifteen years or so water loss thru evaporaters slowly reduced the water in the system which led them to bring in outside water to supplement the recycled water being injected back down to the steam fields which would bring steam presure back to maximum levels. was’nt trying to sneak anything by you, just the way i understood the reasons for bringing in outside fresh water.

    • Big AL September 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      OK .. that’s what I thought you said hehe .. but seriously, am I wrong to say that .. they have been importing water for this purpose throughout the process, that there isn’t really a loss to ground water in the area.

      Isn’t the process there they’re using involving importing water to inject into hot dry rock, to heat the water and turn it into steam, which is collected at the surface as it escapes.

      I’m not sure, but I heard there was something about the water under Little lake migrating to that area at a very deep depth?

    • Mark September 3, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      The Coso steam plant is a perfect example of the real issue. It’s not about water it’s about money. The only reason Inyo County allowed the pipeline to be built from Rose Valley to the Coso Plant is because the Coso plant is the largest tax revenue generator in the County.

      I’m not sure where I stand on the issue but I know for a fact that money took precedence over ground water conservation in Rose Valley.

      • Russ Monroe September 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

        The original design/idea of the Coso Steam plant was a Closed Loop system. Steam/pressure collected in shallow wells was to drive turbines to produce electrical power then the condensing towers should have cooled the gas back to a liquid to be re-injected into the deep wells, to be made back into steam, by geothermal heat. The designers said the ground water in that valley would run the plant for “at least a century”.
        During construction, something went wrong and a explosion occurred deep under the surface. At the time the estimate was that the energy released in that failure was as much as the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. That blast disturbed many ancient burial sites and apparently fractured too many rock layers under the site, resulting in the greatly reduced efficiency of the formerly closed cycle.
        Simply put, they used up the century worth of water in a little over a decade, and now are injecting water from the Rose Valley pipeline into what is now an Open Loop/or partial loss system. The plant was a failure before it was turned on, but as long as they can pump water into it, it will make power and generate tax revenue, unless of course it blows up again!
        The pumping effect on the water table under Rose Valley to Little Lake is going to depend on how much water the DWP releases over the Haiwee dam. If DWP continues to allow enough discharge from Haiwee the water table will be stay at it’s current level. If DWP restricts the flow, the water table will go down. If DWP chooses to slow the flow, the plant will have to find news sources of water or cease operation.

      • Big AL September 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

        You’re probably right Mark.

  9. beach family September 1, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Is 360 acre feet per year a lot? I should know because I have read all the books about Owen’s valley water that I can get my hands on. I read somewhere that there was plans to build a Budweiser plant in Olancha.I would probably start drinking that stuff if I knew for sure it was valley water.

    • Benett Kessler September 1, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      360 acre feet is just a bit under the average yearly use of stream water by the Town of Mammoth Lakes (currently under attack by DWP).
      Benett Kessler

    • Trouble September 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

      Has anyone else heard anything about Budweiser building up here?

      • Hobby's are forever September 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

        With all the non-stop posting by “Trouble” today,
        I’d say he/she needs a constructive hobby.

        • Trouble September 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

          The fishing really sucked and your right.

  10. salblaster September 1, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    beach family. think of 360 acre feet as a swimming pool the size of a football field endzones included and 360 feet deep.

  11. salblaster September 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    big al. i did a little research and from what i can tell your right about the surface water not be depleted around the geothermal plant. they were condensing the steam back to cold water after it passed thru the turbine generaters and pumping back down to the steam fields, this proccess began depleting the water volume of the steam fields which caused lower presure entering the turbines. sort of a closed system not directly involving ground water tables. but, its not completly independent as the water in the steam fields got there thru snow and rainfall seeping down from the surface. the rose valley well is permited to supply 4839 acre feet per year, thats 3000 gallons a minute to boost well presure. makes crystal geysers 360 acre feet seem like a puddle. the added boost in presure should generate an additional 20 megawatts of power.

  12. beachfamily September 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Every drop of that precious water ends up in places like Cancun and Panama. I always ckeck to make sure it’s Olancha peak water. I get home sick sometimes! Anyways, A six pack of Fiji water cost about the same as a six pack of Mammoth brewery Ale. I think ya all are selling your water too cheap again. Does’nt anyone up there learn from their mistakes? Please dont think I am being arrogant, just respectful.

    • Trouble September 3, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      beachfamily- you lost me on your comment about water ending up in Cancun and Panama????

  13. beachfamily September 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    I remember sitting on a sweaty, humid air plane a year ago to this day in Panama. Sitting next to me was an exact copy of the Columbian wife in the tv show “modern family”. Boobs and all. She was loud and drunk as as a skunk. I was so home sick. Headed to Cartegna, Columbia. I asked the flight attendant for some water. They brought me a bottle of Crystal Geyser water from Olancha peak. I have bought that water at the foot of the Aztec pyramids in Talum and at dusty little markets on the mouth of the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. Owen’s valleys water is everywhere. It’s time the valley people take it back.

    • Trouble September 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Beachfamily- I think you need to drink more water.

      • J.Craig September 8, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

        Take it back? I think we should be very flattered the there is an international demand for U.S. CG water “bottled at the source”. I live in So. Cal myself and LOVE Crystal Geyser water and appreciate that it is bottled from the local Sierra mountains. I am all for distributing this thirst quenching resource internationally. It is already at big hit in the United States… Despite your concerns, the CG source will not run dry. I am much more concerned about the water sources that feed the Southern California population…..


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