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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Florida Governor Proposes 6-Cent-A-Gallon Tax On Water Bottlers

Published In Print: March 2, 2009 St. Petersburg Times
Every day, Nestle Waters of North America sucks up an estimated 500,000 gallons from Madison Blue Springs, a limestone basin a mile north of town. It pipes the 70-degree water to its massive bottling plant and distribution center, fills 102,000 plastic containers an hour, pastes on Deer Park or Zephyrhills labels, boxes it up and ships half of it out of state.

The cost to the company for the water: a one-time $150 local water permit. Like 22 other bottled water companies in Florida, including giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co., Nestle's profit is 10 to 100 times the cost of each bottle.

The DEP estimates the fee would apply to about 5.4 million gallons a day — the amount it believes is pumped from state springs and aquifers by bottlers from Coca-Cola's Dasani to Publix. The estimate does not include water taken from municipal water supplies.

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