Clean water vs. cannabis? Water district opposes proposed extraction facility

MAD RIVER, CA. – The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District argues a proposed plan for a cannabis extraction facility could be problematic – posing a threat to the safety of our drinking water.

“The reason we are in opposition is because we perceive that there is a risk to water quality,” said Sheri Woo, Board President of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.

New zoning changes could allow for construction company Mercer-Fraser to embark on building the 5,000 square foot extraction facility, to create cannabis edibles adjacent to where water is collected, and replacing a current gravel site they’ve been operating for years.

“We have been co-existing successfully for years and years,” said Woo.

Large scale water pumps, known as Ranney wells, exist along the Mad River, collecting and bringing water to about 88,000 people in Humboldt County – just upstream from the proposed cannabis site.

“The reason the location matters so much in this particular case is because we have our Ranney wells, which is the source of our drinking water, and because that facility and that parcel is so close, that’s what heightens the risk to water quality,” explained Woo.

The water district says these environmental impacts could be corrected, but at a cost.

“Water treatment is very expensive, and it’s the rate payers that pay for water treatment. So if we had to go down that road, it could affect people’s bottom lines,” added Woo.

Mercer-Fraser Company did not respond to requests for comment.

Before the project can move forward, it will have to gain approval from county supervisors.

The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District plans to hold a public meeting on the subject in the near future – we will continue to bring you updates.