County Commissioners review draft permit for BlueTriton spring-water operations

During Tuesday’s installment of the BlueTriton Brands 1041 permit hearing, Chaffee County Commissioners reviewed proposed conditions in a draft permit that, once finalized, will allow BlueTriton Brands to continue using Chaffee County spring water for its Arrowhead brand bottled-water business.

The Chaffee County Attorney’s Office will accept public comments about the draft 1041 permit until close of business July 27. Comments should be submitted via email to

The draft permit includes 41 conditions. The Commissioners expressed support for most of those conditions as presented and will continue deliberations on the other conditions at their August 3 meeting in Salida.

Sections 4.5, “Transfer of Permit,” and 4.15, “Endowment and Annual Programmatic Contributions,” generated significant discussion.

Commissioner Rusty Granzella advocated for eliminating any option for transferring the permit in favor of requiring a new application that would need approval prior to any change in the permittee.

Attorney Davis expressed concern about potential legal interpretations of the permit language and emphasized that the current draft of the permit transfer condition would give the Commissioners broader discretion on a wider range of permittee changes than was afforded by the original 1041 permit approved in 2009.

As an example, Davis said that a corporate lawyer would not see the recent sale of Nestlé Waters North America to private equity firms as a transfer of the permit but that the proposed language would require a public hearing and allow Commissioners to impose additional conditions.

Commissioner Keith Baker advocated for revising Section 4.15 to allow the use of BlueTriton monies to develop a comprehensive sustainability plan as called for in the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

Commissioners Granzella and Greg Felt expressed reservations about Baker’s proposal, and Felt requested that Baker send him an example of a good sustainability plan so that he could have a better understanding of what such a plan would entail.

In general, the draft permit conditions would give the County broader authority to monitor BlueTriton operations, identify noncompliance and impose sanctions than the original 1041 permit, including conducting an annual public hearing to determine permit compliance.

Joe Stone