The Coastal Packet: Poland Spring trying to take more Maine water

Sunday, February 19

Poland Spring trying to take more Maine water

Sun Journal - Spurred by strong sales, Poland Spring is looking for two additional spring sites and a home for its fourth bottling plant in Maine, a $50 million construction project.

Mark Dubois, a geologist and natural resource manager for Poland Spring, said this week the company is ready to start looking for the site of its fourth bottling plant in Maine along with two new springs, increasing capacity by about 50 percent of what the company bottled last year.

The company bottled nearly 821 million gallons of water in the state last year. The new trio of projects could give it capacity for 400 million more.

The brand is the No. 1-selling bottled spring water in the U.S.

... Nickie Sekera, a Fryeburg Water District trustee and co-founder of Community Water Justice, which opposed Poland Spring's long-term contract in Fryeburg, said she wasn't surprised at the news, given Poland Spring's fevered marketing push.

She agreed with Dubois that Maine is a water-rich state, but said it's a matter of getting the most value for it locally as well as protecting it for the future. Sekera anticipated community push back as the company looks for sites.

"When resources bypass the full benefit of local people wholesale for the benefit of multinational corporations, we create a situation on the ground where money is funneled up and out," she said. "Maine, with our water, it's something to be very cautious about how we move forward and who gains control over our water and how we can always be sure that local people will come first."

Poland Spring, whose parent company Nestle, headquartered in Switzerland, is among the largest public companies in the world, has nine springs in the state, largely in Western Maine. It employed 900 people at peak last summer, and has bottling plants in Poland, Hollis and Kingfield.

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