Firm which produces France's favourite bottled water faces claims of polluting stream

By Mathieu Martiniere (We Report)

For nearly twenty years fishermen, residents and environment inspectors have raised the alarm over pollution seeping from an industrial bottling plant owned by the French group Roxane in Normandy. Locals say the organic pollution has caused major harm to the stream, which feeds into the River Sarthe. Roxane, the third largest French bottling company and owner of Cristaline, the most widely-consumed bottled water in the country, also has its headquarters at the site. Mathieu Martiniere of the independent journalists collective 'We Report' investigates.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

Armed with just a shovel and a water measuring stick, the fisherman walks across the field until he reaches the Roglain, a small stream which feeds into the River Sarthe in northern France. Once in the middle of the stream he agitates the mud with his boots and then waits. Within a few seconds the water has taken on a blackish hue.