Egan Slough Community

Lew Weaver (left) owns Montana Artesian Water Company, which has been embroiled in legal battles since announcing plans to operate a water bottling plant outside Kalispell three years ago.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

About 100 people went to a hearing in Kalispell Tuesday in a lawsuit aimed at preventing a water bottling plant from producing and distributing its product.

Montana Artesian Water Company.
Nicky Ouellet

A contested water bottling plant outside Kalispell has begun operating and distributing as Flathead County grapples with how to interpret new zoning regulations the plant’s opponents say should shut it down.

Montana Artesian Water Company is stocking its water bottles at a local convenience store and at a few area offices and events under a private label.

Site of the the proposed Montana Artesian Water Company bottling plant near Creston, MT.
Nicky Ouellet

An initiative that could spell trouble for a controversial water bottling plant in the Flathead Valley was approved by Flathead county voters last night.

Backers of the Egan Slough zoning expansion say the extending the agricultural zone will protect the area’s prime farmland from industrial development, including Montana Artesian Water Company.

The zoning change passed with 69 percent of the vote.

Site of the the proposed Montana Artesian Water Company bottling plant near Creston, MT.
Nicky Ouellet

A Flathead County judge has ordered county commissioners to reconsider a zoning change they denied last year, which could be a setback for a proposed water bottling plant outside Kalispell.

In his summary decision last week, district judge Robert Allison said county commissioners’ denial of the zoning change was lacking in facts and foundation, unreasonable and an abuse of discretion.

Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

A judge in Flathead County says opponents of a water bottling plant outside Kalispell will have an answer before late March regarding a citizen-petitioned zoning change that could ban the plant.

The Egan Slough community in Creston say they want to block the the water bottling plant because of its potential impact on local property values, its drain on existing wells and possible impacts on the Flathead River.