Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you can make it. An ambitious cannabis extraction facility planned for the Trinity County area of Northern California is stalling out over water quality concerns.
The 5,000 square foot operation was in the works for the community of Mad River, applying for country approval and hopefully taking advantage of new zoning changes. But the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District is arguing that the facility could impact the area’s drinking water.
“The reason we are in opposition is because we perceive that there is a risk to water quality,” Sheri Woo, Board President of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, told KIEM TV.
The facility, meant to create edibles, would be built in the place of an existing gravel site just next to a water reservoir. Large water pumps called Ranney wells collect water from the nearby Mad River, and distribute them to roughly 90,000 residents of the neighboring Humboldt County.
“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,” said Woo.
The KIEM article does not specify which specific chemicals the community is concerned about contaminating the local water supply. Solvents such as butane or CO2 are commonly used in the cannabis extraction process.
Woo says that potential damage to the water from extraction byproducts could be offset by increased water filtration, but added that, “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.”
The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District intends to have a public meeting to let the community discuss the topic.