Sep 27 11:30 AM

Trouble by the gallon

A Poland Spring truck (John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald).

Next time you grab a bottle of Poland Spring water, you might want to consider the controversy under the cap. The small town of Fryeburg, Maine is home to Evergreen Spring, which supplies water to fill Poland Spring’s bottles. Poland Spring’s parent company, Nestle, is negotiating a new long-term contract with the spring’s operator, Fryeburg Water Company. That deal is in front of Maine’s Public Utilities Commission. But, all the commissioners have previous ties to Nestle. That conflict of interest has led one commissioner to recuse himself, while two others have not. Some townspeople say selling their water will deplete their supply so they’re challenging the commissioners and organizing to get their water rights back. Is this good for the economy or bad for the environment? Join us at 7:30ET.

Must reads:

For regulators and Nestle Waters, conflict by the gallon: Portland Press Herald
Maine PUC chief won't rescue himself in water case- yet: Portland Press Herald

On today's episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Colin Woodard @WoodardColin
Reporter, Portland Press Herald

Thomas Welch
Chairman, Maine Public Utilities Commission

Bruce Taylor
Intervener in the case 

Mike Corthell @mikecorthell
Community activist


What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 


Poland Spring and its parent company Nestle Waters have paid for the rights to Fryeburg, Maine's water since 2008. A proposed new contract will allow Nestle to continue to draw water at a lower rate, but will require the company to pay at least $144,000 per year to the privately owned water utility, Fryeburg Water Company. The contract can be renewed for up to 45 years. 

Concerns about the sustainability of the water source have led many in Fryeburg to protest, demanding rights to thewater. Fryeburg residents have mobilized online and in person against Nestle. 



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