The Poland Spring water controversy, explained
The corporation’s intention to build another plant — possibly in the Lincoln area — that could extract another 175 million gallons per year from an aquifer has, predictably, fanned fears that nearby wells or the entire aquifer will be sucked dry.
Could Poland Spring deplete Maine’s groundwater?
That included the 768 million gallons pumped out by bottled water companies, Gordon said.
Last year, Poland Spring bottled around 900 million gallons of water, less than 1 percent of the state’s groundwater, according to Thomas Brennan, Poland Spring’s senior natural resource manager.
Could Poland Spring bottling plants dry out nearby wells and deplete streams?
Gordon, the state hydrologist, said during the drought he checked each of the company’s test wells that measure how the aquifer being tapped is being affected by the bottling operation.
Poland Spring controls water under land it owns.
The Maine DEP typically checks testing wells at a proposed extraction site to see how the surrounding area would be affected, said Mark Margerum, an environmental specialist for the department.
During droughts, the Maine Geological Survey will check the company’s test wells itself.
Nisha Swinton, senior organizer for Food and Water Watch, said she wants stronger regulation of water extraction and says the state ought to have control over all of Maine’s groundwater.