POLAND SPRING — I would like to take this opportunity to clear up some misstatements and misconceptions about Poland Spring’s operations in Maine and, specifically, Fryeburg.

First, a bit of history: Hiram Ricker began bottling Poland Spring Water in 1845 in the western Maine town of Poland. It didn’t take long for the brand to become popular and by the early 1900s it was being sold out of offices in Boston, New York, London, Paris, Cairo and Manila.

Two world wars and the Great Depression took a toll on sales, and the company floundered and changed hands several times. By the 1970s, Poland Spring was nearly bankrupt, though the company still operated a small bottling plant in the town of Poland.

In 1980, Perrier, and then later on Nestle Waters, took ownership of the business, providing resources and over $500 million in capital here in Maine to revive the company. Today, Poland Spring turns a rapidly renewable natural resource into over 800 good jobs for Maine people through our three bottling facilities and additional spring water sources.

Poland Spring is the best-selling spring water brand in the country. Much of the growth of Poland Spring can be attributed to the decline in sugary soft drinks and awareness of obesity in America. Bottled water will soon surpass carbonated soft drink sales in the U.S.

This is good health and wellness news and good news for Maine’s iconic spring water. Poland Spring distributes across the northeastern U.S. today. We are a Northeastern brand and the most popular spring water in New York and Boston. Like all of us, these consumers demand and place a high value on local, natural Maine products such as blueberries, lobster and – yes – water.

What makes Maine’s spring water so special? Maine is blessed with abundant and rapidly renewable water that is filtered through sand and gravel aquifers that exist below the surface of the earth. In an average year, Maine receives about 45 inches of precipitation, equal to 25 trillion gallons of water statewide. Maine aquifers receive regular recharge by infiltration into the groundwater system that feeds natural springs we use today.

In 2005, a firm hired by the town of Fryeburg, Emery & Garrett Groundwater Investigations, determined that around 220 million gallons of excess water are available annually from the Wards Brook Aquifer alone – even after Fryeburg Water Co.’s other customers are served and after accounting for the need for water for growth in Fryeburg.

This figure, divided by 365 days per year, is about 800,000 gallons per day. Like all good budgets, a safety factor was applied to this number to arrive at a safe, sustainable yield of roughly 600,000 gallons per day. This is the withdrawal maximum included in the Public Utilities Commission-approved Fryeburg Water Co. contract currently under appeal at the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Over the past seven years, Poland Spring’s withdrawals in Fryeburg averaged about half the sustainable yield. We consistently use less than Mother Nature provides. At any time, Fryeburg Water has the authority under the new contract to suspend or reduce the sale of water to Poland Spring to supply the water needs of its other customers and comply with its environmental permits.

This is local control, where locals come first. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Poland Spring has been a customer of Fryeburg Water for over 17 years and has invested millions of dollars to ensure the health of the Wards Brook Aquifer, which supplies the water we both withdraw. Experts from both Poland Spring and the town of Fryeburg keep a close eye on water levels through regular testing and monitoring of the groundwater, the springs and nearby wetlands, lakes and ponds.

Poland Spring’s water use and monitoring data are public and available in an easy-to-read monitoring report. Copies can be picked up at Fryeburg Town Hall and in the Poland Spring office on Main Street in Fryeburg. We are transparent and having nothing to hide.

Keeping the Wards Brook Aquifer healthy is not only the right thing to do for the environment but also essential to our spring water business. A healthy aquifer benefits all of Fryeburg Water Co.’s customers, including residential and business ratepayers.

Poland Spring has a 171-year history of caring for Maine’s water resource and takes this responsibility seriously. Our water withdrawals are highly regulated and monitored, and we use sound scientific practices to make sure there are no adverse impacts on the water supply.

Poland Spring looks forward to a continuing, positive presence in Fryeburg and the other Maine communities where we operate.