Siskiyou County Community Development Director Greg Plucker said the county will prepare the EIR, which will consider "the totality" of Crystal Geyser's operations in Mount Shasta.

Siskiyou County informed Crystal Geyser today that a conditional use permit application submitted to install a caretaker’s/security residence at its Mt. Shasta facility is a discretionary project and is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act.

The county “informed Crystal Geyser that it is in everyone’s mutual interest that an environmental impact report (EIR) be prepared in conjunction with the submitted use permit application,” according to a press release from Community Development Director Greg Plucker.

Crystal Geyser communications manager Jill Harris said the company has agreed to go forward with the application and the EIR.

The county believes the residence “is integral” to the Crystal Geyser project and, therefore, the EIR “will look at the totality of operations” at the Mount Shasta facility, Plucker said in a phone interview.

“An EIR is, of course, the right step to take,” said Vicki Gold, one of the area residents who have been vocal in demanding an EIR for the bottling facility. “We feel there have been many opportunities that should have triggered it before, but we’ll take it however we get it.”

The application requesting approval to install the residence was received Friday, March 18, and Crystal Geyser was notified of the county’s decision March 23.

Plucker said the county will be preparing the EIR, will process it and will select a consultant for it, while Crystal Geyser will pay for it.

He said the bottling facility operation is a permitted use at a site that is zoned heavy industrial, but “unusual circumstances” are involved with the Crystal Geyser project.

As stated in the press release, “While the project does require discretionary permits from other agencies, these other agencies only have permitting responsibilities for certain limited aspects of the entire bottling facility.”

Plucker said those other agencies include Air Pollution Control, the City of Mount Shasta for sewer, and California Regional Water Control Board, which granted a permit for a septage field in 2001 when the plant was owned by Dannon.

That arrangement, as stated in the release, “has led to considerable concern voiced by the community over the potential of unaddressed environmental impacts.”

“We believe an EIR is the appropriate level of environmental document,” Plucker said. “We will use the EIR as an informational tool, which is what it’s intended to be.”