Maine agency approves deal between Poland Springs and Fryeburg Water Co.

IndustriesAssociated Press

The Maine Public Utilities Commission says Fryeburg Water Co. can enter into a long-term contract to sell water to Nestle Waters, bottler of Poland Springs.

The commission ruled Thursday that the contract between the privately-owned utility and Nestle could benefit the utility's ratepayers. Nestle would pay higher rates than household customers.

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The contract runs for 25 years. Renewals could make it 45 years. Nestle says the deal allows the water company to reduce or suspend Poland Spring's water withdrawal if there is a shortage or emergency. Nestle spokesman Mark Dubois says the deal provides the utility "a reliable source of income."

Advocacy group Food & Water Watch criticized the deal. Organizer Nisha Swinton says Nestle is "only interested in profit" and the ruling "sold out the families of our state."