Poland Spring is looking to expand.
A continuing surge in the sale of bottled water has the company looking for two new sources of spring water and making plans for a fourth bottling facility somewhere in western Maine or northeast of Bangor.
“Sustainability is key to our business so, like we did in Kingfield, we have two feeder springs — one outside of Rangeley and Dallas Plantation in Spruce Spring that help out the Kingfield factory. So, we’re looking to duplicate that model and find a factory location and a couple support springs,” says Mark Dubois, a spokesperson for the company which is a division of Nestle.
Identification, permitting and completion of a new bottling plant will take 3-5 years. Dubois says the company plans on hiring about 80 employees making about $20 an hour.
Bottled water sales are now outpacing soda sales by volume and Poland Spring is the No. 1 producer of spring water in the country. But that’s a concern for some Maine residents like Nickie Sekera of the group Community Water Justice.
“With Nestle looking to expand their business in Maine, I think it would be timely for us to put Mainers first and put our local economy and environment first before we bypass the sole benefit of our water to local communities,” she says.
Given the drought experienced in Maine last summer, Sekera says it’s time for the state to update its water protection laws, which she says are antiquated.