Work has commenced at Magheramorne to create Northern Ireland’s first social enterprise water-bottling facility.
The project, known as Waterwheel, will involve the extraction and bottling of water from a local well using carbon neutral processes such as green energy supply, recycled biodegradable bottles and recycled material for labels.
The company behind the project, Learning to Grow – located at Larne Lough Nurseries on Shore Road – has joined forces with Acceptable Enterprises Larne (AEL) to bring about the unique venture, which is expected to create four full-time jobs in the borough.
And the partnership with AEL will allow the project to provide long-term employment opportunities for people with special needs.
Maureen Hanvey of Learning to Grow told the Larne Times: “Deep beneath the ancient lands of Magheramorne there lies an untouched, pure, natural water source.
“The water will be naturally filtered by the geological strata during the extraction process.
“Our employees will then be responsible for rinsing the bottles, capping and packaging them.
“Construction has already begun on the water-bottling plant and the equipment will arrive in December or January.
“We then hope to have Waterwheel up and running by next spring.
“This is a very exciting opportunity and we are delighted to be able to offer people with disabilities the chance to be a part of this unique venture.
“Waterwheel will be great for the local economy, and will have zero carbon footprint.
“The water will be extracted using a carbon neutral process, and the bottling will be done using recyclable materials.
“The bottling plant will also be an eco-friendly building. This all means there will be no adverse effects on the local environment.”
The company hopes to distribute the water north and south of the border, as well as in Great Britain.
David Hunter, chief executive of AEL told the Times that talks were currently ongoing with potential customers.
He added: “We are very happy to be associated with this fantastic project.”