Two groups filed a legal challenge Tuesday to the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings contesting the Seven Springs Water permit to pump nearly a million gallons daily for Nestle’s bottling services.
Florida Springs Council and Our Santa Fe River are challenging the legitimacy of the permit, which the Suwannee River Water Management District approved in late February.
The petition contests the board’s decision on the grounds that Nestle can’t benefit from the permit as it is not an official applicant, and the board did not consider public interest in making the decision.
The challenge argues the permit’s applicant, Seven Springs Water Company, does not have the right to conduct water use under district law, as it does not have control over the bottling facility pumping water. Because Nestle is not the official permit applicant, the suit alleges, the district would have no way to regulate its water use operations to ensure they are used in a reasonable manner.
The petition also states the water board did not follow its rules and Florida Statute to consider if the permit was “consistent with public interest.” When making the decision to grant the permit, the board did not address the nearly 20,000 comments submitted in regard to the pumping of water.
No initial hearing for the petition has yet been scheduled.