Everett backs away from massive beverage plant idea

EVERETT — A proposed plan to let a company tap into 5 million gallons of city water daily just went down the drain.

Mayor Ray Stephanson asked city attorneys to stop work on the contract with Tethys Enterprises, which wanted to bottle brewed teas and other beverages using city water.

“It’s over,” Stephanson said Wednesday.

In an April 12 letter to the company, Stephanson said he had “questions about whether your proposal truly promotes the city’s long term best interests.”

The city wanted the contract to include a provision that would link the number of jobs the company created to the amount of water it received. Tethys officials told the city that was a “deal breaker,” according to the mayor’s letter.

Tethys wanted to build a 1 million-square-foot “green” beverage plant, a venture that its chief executive officer, Steve Winter, said could employ 1,000 workers or more.

In order to placate private investors, the company said it needs a 30-year commitment from the city for 5 million gallons of water a day. That’s 2 percent of the city’s total daily supply from the Sultan Basin.

Winter said Wednesday morning there had been some disagreements on some of the terms of the contract, but his company was still hopeful a resolution could be reached.

“My position is we are trying to explore the city’s concerns and see if we can address them,” he said.

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