Home Meeting notice Poland Spring withdraws request to extract more water in Hollis after residents object

Poland Spring withdraws request to extract more water in Hollis after residents object

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In its application and at a public meeting on August 24, Poland Spring insisted that the additional withdrawal should be relatively minimal. Photo credit: Facebook

Bottling company Poland Spring backtracked request to double the amount of water it is mining from one of its wells in Hollis, after growing opposition from townspeople concerned about further withdrawal amid this summer’s drought.

Local residents, some of whom had dried up wells, attended two public meetings to express their outrage and demand answers from the bottling giant. The decision to withdraw the application came just days before another planning council meeting that had been scheduled to hear the permit application.

“Meeting and public hearing canceled for September 14” a notice on the City of Hollis website said Friday. “Poland Spring has withdrawn its candidacy.”

Poland Spring was looking to doubling its withdrawal from 30 million gallons of water per year to 60 million gallons from what it calls Borehole No 6, one of its wells.

On Friday evening, the company confirmed to the Maine Monitor that it was stepping down.

“Consistent with our long-standing principle and practice of being a good neighbor, we have determined that it is in everyone’s interest not to proceed at this time. Although this project recently received Maine DEP approval, we appreciate the community’s engagement on this permit application as well as their comments and suggestions,” a Poland Spring spokesperson said in a statement..

The Monitor reported that BlueTriton Brands, the owner of Poland Spring, filed an application in June to modify its license in order to increase the levy.

Like much of Maine, much of York County experienced a drought this summer, and demand for the bid surfaced as anxious residents worried about their wells. But the request has also raised broader concerns among some residents about Poland Springs, which has been drawing water from Hollis for about two decades.

Residents have attended two Hollis Planning Board meetings in recent weeks, with a third meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

“I’ve never seen so many people gather like this before,” local resident Barbara Coleman said.

The city planned to hire an independent hydrologist and other experts to assess the request. Residents were upset about the number of Poland Spring trucks passing through town as well as the impact of increased water withdrawal from the aquifer.

In its application and at the August 24 public meeting, Poland Spring insisted that the additional withdrawal was relatively small. “The increased withdrawal rate will not deplete or degrade adjacent water bodies or water supplies,” the app states.

In its statement on Friday evening, a spokesperson said: “we will continue to be passionate water stewards and report water withdrawals to the City of Hollis and the Maine DEP.

Experts disagree on the impact of bottlers extracting huge amounts of water on nearby wells, and bottled water companies have traditionally argued they take a relatively small amount. of the vast Maine aquifer. Nevertheless, in 2016 Poland Spring, then owned by Nestlé, reduced its water withdrawals amid a severe drought, the Portland Press Herald reported at the time.

David Dahl is the editor of the Maine Monitor. Contact him with ideas for other stories: [email protected]