Niagara Facts

Frequestly Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about Niagara and our application.

Question: Why is Niagara asking to withdraw more groundwater from the aquifer?
Answer: No. 1, our market demand is growing. Customers have asked us to supply more. No. 2, Our specific plan will improve the sustainability of water resources in the area around our facility. By reducing withdrawals in the Upper Floridan aquifer and relying more on the Lower Floridan aquifer, our plan will alleviate previous concerns about the impact on local lakes and streams. Finally, the third reason is that our plan secures a solid future for Niagara’s multi-million dollar manufacturing facility and the 120 permanent jobs that we’ve created. The vast majority of our associates are proud to call Lake County home. We shop in Lake County stores; we attend Lake County churches and our children attend Lake County schools.

Question: We constantly hear warnings that the Floridan aquifer is “running out of water.” If Central Florida is running out of groundwater, why is Niagara seeking to increase its allocation?
Answer: First of all, water is important. We agree with the idea that everyone should be concerned about the sustainability of Florida’s groundwater resources. And that’s exactly why regulators look at Consumptive Use Permits on a case by case basis: To determine whether or not each specific plan deserves approval. Based on the technical data developed by our team and under the requirements laid out in Florida law, we believe our application meets all of the standards for approval. Furthermore, we believe that our specific plan represents a “win-win” for both the economy and the environment. By reducing withdrawals in the Upper Floridan aquifer and relying more on the Lower Floridan aquifer, we will reduce the impacts on local lakes and streams and secure a long-term future for the business we have created in Lake County.

Question: How does Niagara’s plan alleviate concerns about its environmental impact?
Answer: In our application materials, we demonstrate that by taking less water from the Upper Floridan Aquifer, impacts on the surficial and Upper Floridan aquifers will be reduced. That’s because, according to hydrogeological research, the lower Floridan aquifer is separated from the upper Floridan aquifer, and subsequently from the land surface, by a semi-confining unit of clay, 50 to 75 feet thick. Thanks to this semi-confining unit and the productive nature of the lower Floridan, withdrawals from the Lower Floridan typically have less impact on surficial waters.

Question: What does Niagara do to conserve water within its operation?
Answer: Our Lake County facility is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that is designed to maximize water conservation. Water conservation is an integral component of operational efficiency of the plant. For example, our bottle filling equipment is highly efficient and is designed to prevent and/or minimize overflow. All equipment is monitored for leaks and regular leak testing takes place. There is full auditing and accounting for all water uses. And the operation of our cooling towers is designed to maximize water conservation.

Question: City of Groveland and Lake County strenuously objected to Niagara’s application in 2007 and even went to court to prevent Niagara from trying to get a permit . What about the those concerns today?
Answer: First of all, the history is in the past. Groveland and Niagara have “turned the page.” Niagara has partnered with Groveland to provide process water to the City that provides a direct benefit to the citizens of Groveland as well as the environment. Groveland uses Niagara’s process water in its reuse system, which means Groveland can substitute reclaimed water for treated, potable groundwater for residential irrigation and other non-potable uses. This allows Groveland to: 1) Reduce its groundwater withdrawals from the Upper Floridan aquifer; 2) Assure that high-quality, potable groundwater will be used for more appropriate purposes, and 3) Further reduces stress on the aquifer system. We look forward to working with the City of Groveland for many years to come.

Question: Why should a privately owned company like Niagara be allowed to take a public resource like water out of the ground anyway?
Answer: Niagara is a licensed, regulated commercial user and operates just like any of the more than 400 licensed commercial users in Lake County. If you look across Lake County, there are more than 50 citrus groves that rely on groundwater for irrigation and more than 25 commercial nurseries. According to St. Johns River Water Management District, Niagara is one of seven bottled water operations permitted in the 18-county District. Those seven bottled water companies are allocated a combined total of 2.055 million gallons a day, less than 3/10 of 1 percent of the water used in the District on a daily basis. Furthermore, throughout the water management district, there are at least 13 other bottling operations or juice producers that employ hundreds of people and rely on groundwater. Niagara is no different than any of those companies.

Question: What is Niagara’s economic impact on Lake County?
Answer: When we established our business in Lake County in 2008, we took over an abandoned warehouse in the Christopher Ford Industrial Park. We have made a multi-million-dollar capital investment in the facility that today employs 120 associates on a full-time basis and up to an additional 60 part-time associates on a seasonal basis. The total annual payroll for our Lake County operation: More than $7 million. Another way to measure our impact is through the property taxes that we pay to Lake County. Our current tax bill is in excess of $872,000. As a result, we have earned a reputation among Lake County officials as a stable company that has created good jobs that help sustain Lake County’s economy.

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