Highbridge Water: From Spring to You

Have you ever wondered how Highbridge water gets from a spring in the back of a Limestone quarry in the bluffs above the Kentucky River to your door?  You know that it is brought to you in a big truck by one of our smiling drivers or that you pick it up from the shelf at one of our grocery customers, but how does it get from the spring into the bottle from which you drink?  Well, it goes something like this. . . .

Sitting under that spring is a 1500 gallon tank that says Highbridge Springs on the side – that tank serves as a catch basin for the natural flowing water.  From that catch basin we have a few hundred feet of pipe that carries the water to a reservoir we created at one end of our quarry.  Actually we built a 10 foot high dam that created this reservoir which holds several million gallons of Kentucky’s finest spring water.  A very large pump located in the pump house at the base of the dam moves the water through about 750 feet of pipe to the “water plant”.  This is where we process and bottle the water.

The first step at the water plant is to process the water through our reverse osmosis (RO) system.  This is intended to take particulate out of the water down to a very, very small size leaving just enough of the natural minerals to give the water that great Highbridge taste.
Our final treatment before bottling is ozonation which is an FDA treatment required of all bottled water.  Ozone’s role is to take care of any micro-organisms that might be in the water.

We then pipe the water once again into one of several large holding tanks where it is stored until we determine into which size bottle we will put the water – 12 ounce or ½ liter; 1 liter; 1 or 2-½ gallon; or our 3 or 5 gallon large bottles – and that decision is made by you when you buy our products.  As our on-hand inventory is depleted we schedule and plan our production runs to restock our storage areas so that we never run out of water.  We have production lines devoted to each size container that we sell.  The pure, clean water is delivered from the storage tanks directly to each of those production areas as needed.  Once we fill the required number of a given size container, we simply turn a valve and redirect the water to the next production area and repeat the process of filling bottles.

Each production line has its own packing station.  The bottles are put into cartons or on cardboard trays, wrapped and sealed and then palletized. From there they go into storage until they need to be delivered to you.  The only products that are sold in a “reusable package” are our 3 and 5 gallon bottles, the other products are in recyclable containers.  Since the 3 and 5 gallon bottles are returned to us to be refilled we have to thoroughly wash and sanitize them to insure cleanliness.  We do this in our mini car wash, which is a combination of bottle cleaner and filling machine.  Once filled the bottles are capped and stored in racks until our route trucks are loaded for delivery.

When Mr. Bill Griffin began operations in Wilmore over 30 years ago he was told the cave wouldn’t be much good unless he figured out some way of getting rid of that water in the back.  Well, it took him a while to figure it out, but we think he came up with a pretty good idea – and we hope you agree.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is, by definition, the opposite of osmosis. So what is osmosis? It is the movement of a solvent through a semipermeable membrane until there is an equal concentration of fluid on both sides of the membrane. In other words, assimilation by absorption.

In reverse osmosis, the idea is not to equalize water product on both sides of the membrane, but rather to aid in purifying the original solution by passing it through, with the membrane acting as a filter. Forcing ground spring water through such membranes removes virtually all totally dissolved solids from the solution as these particles cannot pass. This process, in continuous operation at Highbridge, results in the crisp, fresh taste sensation for which the water is so well-known.