Denmark to hold public hearing on Poland Spring Withdrawal permit renewal

By Lisa Williams Ackley

Staff Writer

DENMARK — The Denmark Board of Selectmen held a public hearing Tuesday night on Poland Spring Bottling Company’s application to renew its three-year permit for large scale water extraction at Cold Spring.

The selectmen will vote on whether to approve the permit application renewal, at their next meeting on Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Officials from Poland Spring, a division of Nestlé Waters North America Inc., presented their renewal application to the selectmen Nov. 1, saying they plan no expansion of their boring holes, or wellheads, at the Cold Spring Site located on land that runs between Rocky Knoll Road (formerly West Denmark Road) and Denmark Road (formerly Lake Road) near Beaver Brook.

Mark Dubois, Natural Resource Manager for Poland Spring, called the Cold Spring site “a highly renewable resource,” saying, “We fully expect to be drawing water from it, 100 years from now.”

According to Dubois, “There are no changes to the site (planned), or configuration of bore holes.”

Dubois said Poland Spring “started searching for spring sites” in 2003 and 2004, and identified the Cold Spring site at that time. He said the company then applied in 2005 for its first large scale water extraction permit under the town’s Ordinance Governing the Large Scale Pumping or Extraction of Groundwater, Spring Water and/or Water from Aquifers in Denmark.

The Town of Denmark’s ordinance prohibits the transportation of bulk water on its roads, so Poland Spring laid an underground pipeline three miles long from Cold Spring almost to its tanker truck filling station site off Route 302 in East Fryeburg, in 2006, in conjunction with the drilling of its first bore hole, called Bore Hole 1.

Denmark selectmen approved a second three-year permit renewal for Poland Spring, in 2008, at which time the company added a second bore hole, Dubois said.

“In 2009, after we re-permitted the site, we extended the last mile of underground pipeline to East Fryeburg, and in 2009 we built the (tanker) filling station,” Dubois stated. “By June, 2010, we started drawing water from the (Cold Spring site) and began bottling the water at our bottling plants.”

Number of gallons of water extracted

According to Dubois, last year Poland Spring drew 43 million gallons of water from Cold Spring, or 41% of its annual allotment of 105 million gallons.

“This year, we’re about the same — 43 million gallons at the end of October, year to date, and we expect to end the year (in December) at between 50 to 55 million gallons, or about 50% (of the annual allotment),” Dubois said.

“The maximum daily allotment is 432,000 gallons,” stated Dubois. “That amount is programmed into the site — it can’t (export) more than that — which translates to 51 tankers per day.”

However, Dubois said the most tanker trucks that have been loaded at the East Fryeburg filling station site per day is 46 or 47.

“We can’t get to the permit (limit) levels,” said Dubois.

Keith Taylor, the hydrogeologist hired by the town to oversee Poland Spring’s withdrawal permit conditions and review the reports they regularly submit, said he saw no problems with the large scale water extraction permit application submitted by Poland Spring.

Hydrogeologists at the hearing who work for Poland Spring and Taylor agreed that problems of silt in well pumps and turbidity in recent years brought up by two property owners Nov. 1 are likely not related to the extraction practices of Poland Spring, as the company only started pumping water last year. However, both Taylor and Poland Spring officials said they would assist the property owners in trying to figure out why they are experiencing those issues.

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