Utility regulators to weigh in on Poland Spring proposal

Poland Spring hopes to pump up to 172 million gallons of water a year from a public water district well that once served a now-closed paper mill.
Several small communities had hoped to be in the running to host the company’s planned $50 million bottling plant proposed for western Maine, but one of the nation’s largest bottled water brands, manufactured by a subsidiary of Nestle Waters, also sees an opportunity with Lincoln Water District following the closing of a Lincoln Paper & Tissue mill.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday is set to discuss a permit application filed by Nestle Waters to withdraw municipal water from Lincoln Water District.
Lincoln Water District Superintendent Jeffrey Day told regulators the proposed withdrawal by Poland Spring is not expected to harm the district’s public water system.
In western Maine, Brennan said the company is also finalizing a water-extraction agreement with the Rumford Water District.
The company’s bottling efforts have in past years received opposition from some local groups.
The Protect Rumford Water Alliance spoke out against the Rumford contract with Poland Springs, with concerns that the deal didn’t protect residents and local water supplies.
Brennan said the company is used to being a "lightning rod" for such activist groups.
"And when we’re allowed to have that discussion," he said, "those concerns go away."
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