Sugar Pine Spring Water in the foothills of Tuolumne County also faces fines of nearly $225,000 for collecting and trucking the water to commercial bottling companies for two years despite notices to stop,
FRESNO, Calif. — Armed with evidence captured by surveillance cameras, California regulators have ordered a business to stop tapping Sierra Nevada spring water that is later bottled and sold in stores, officials said Wednesday.
It would be the first such action this year against a commercial water-bottling business under tight drought rules, said Kathy Mrowka, enforcement manager of the state Water Resources Control Board.
Sugar Pine Spring Water in the foothills of Tuolumne County also faces fines of nearly $225,000 for collecting and trucking the water to bottling companies for two years despite notices to stop, according to the board’s proposed sanctions.
With California in its fourth year of historic drought, residents are being told to cut back, and farmers and users such as Sugar Pine have been notified they must stop using waters as streams and rivers run dry.
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Springs tapped by Sugar Pine feed into the Tuolumne River watershed. San Francisco and farmers rely on it, the complaint says.
Sugar Pine was launched in the early 1990s. The company pumps water captured from four springs to a transfer station before it is trucked to commercial bottling firms, the complaint says.
Company owner Scott Fahey can challenge the state action before the measures take effect.
Officials say Fahey has refused requests to show state inspectors his operations behind locked gates on a remote road. Investigators said they mounted surveillance cameras outside the gates, capturing tanker-truck traffic. They also reported seeing tanker trucks rumble past them during a 90-minute visit to the site.