Plant Expansion Results in Community Water Shortage


In the tiny town of Lowville, New York, Kraft-Heinz is a major boon. The facility, responsible for producing Philadelphia brand cream cheese, is the largest employer for the entire county and, according to New York’s North County Public Radio, community members rejoiced when Kraft-Heinz announced a major expansion last year.

But in the months since then, the village has encountered a problem. A string cheese problem.

According to the report, the expansion – which brought a string cheese production line, along with 125 jobs to Lowville – also had an unintended side effect: it caused a major village-wide water shortage. Apparently, Kraft-Heinz plant is using water faster than the village can filter it, and therefore community members are now required to conserve their water or they could face fines.

The mandate means no watering lawns, washing cars, or using water in other ways deemed “unnecessary.” The town values the plant, so it’s working to provide the support for the demands on water that Kraft-Heinz insists Lowville was made of aware of in advance to the expansion.

Mayor Donna Smith refused to place blame on the plant for the water woes, but did say the village was looking “to see what upgrades [they] need to do in a short period of time to be sure that [they] are serving the needs of [the] community.”

But it appears the state of New York is taking a more direct tone. Local station WWNY News 7 obtained a state Health Department document that claimed Kraft Heinz was using over half of the daily supply of the community’s water. The letter called the demand “unsustainable” and said that if Kraft can't find a way to store water on-site, “Lowville will need to find a way to limit Kraft's water use.”

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