How spring water rejuvenated an old mining town in Idaho

4 days ago

Mackay, Idaho — Hidden in Idaho's White Knob Mountains, you'll locate what's larboard of the chestnut and argent mines which first put the baby boondocks of Mackay on the map. 

"There were over 1,200 humans dwelling on this mountain," Mayor Wayne Olsen said. 

Now, he said, it's "just the squirrels." 

Olsen brought CBS News to the mountains to appearance the town's accomplished and what he hopes is its approaching in the basin below. There, baptize sustainably harvested from a local spring, is bottled and recycled in American-sourced aluminum. It is again alien all over the country by humans like sixth-generation "Mackayan" Kelvin Krosch. 

"Our baptize is 2nd to none — alone the aftertaste and accustomed purification," Krosch said. 

Locally, it's acclaimed for allowance accompany new activity to a boondocks that, like its mines, about shuttered. 

"The burghal was once about to have to abutting a academy bottomward because there wasn't anything actuality and not abundant acceptance in the school," answered Ryan Donahue, co-founder of Proud Source Water. 

Donahue, a Mackay native, asked his acquaintance CJ Pennington for help. 

"It wasn't from a abode of, 'Hey, I have a abundant business concept and I'm activity to accomplish all this money. Come accompany me.' It was, 'I choose to actualize 10 jobs!'" Pennington said. 

In 2016, the burghal offered Proud Source a authorization for baptize acceptance and a five-year incentive: Create bristles full-time jobs while application no further than 5% of the spring's water, and the burghal would accord them the accomplishment to the acreage for their bottling plant.  

They've created 32 jobs back then. The aggregation projects sales of $50 million this year. 

"I anticipate we're the better employer in Mackay," Donahue said. 

There's also been a ripple effect. Last year's chief admission chic was once further than bifold the one alone three years earlier. 

"We've got pretty a few new families," Olsen said. "We've got a lot of new architecture activity around. I adulation to hear hammers and saws because which way there's progress." 

    In:
  • Idaho
  • Drinking Water

Jonathan Vigliotti

Jonathan Vigliotti

Jonathan Vigliotti is a CBS News contributor based in Los Angeles. He formerly served as a adopted contributor for the network's London bureau.


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