Chris Palmer, owner of East Coast Explorations, takes a sip from a freshly pumped test well in Lincoln in May 2017. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

Poland Spring has picked the Bella Luna spring in Lincoln as its ninth spring water source in Maine, the company announced Thursday. It still has not chosen a location for its new bottling plant, a company source said.

Poland Spring signed a contract with the Lincoln Water District to buy the water, which will be collected at the new Lincoln load station that is expected to be fully operational in the coming months. From there, it will be transferred into tankers to distribute to various Poland Spring bottling plants.

Poland Spring said it undertakes an extensive process in locating new springs, looking for areas that have the same kind of geological features as its existing spring sources. The source water also must meet stringent local, state and federal regulations to be considered 100 percent natural spring water.

“From our early exploration to our detailed testing and examination of the water source, to the construction of the load station, everyone [in Lincoln] has been both welcoming and professional in working with us,” Tom Brennan, senior natural resource manager at Poland Spring, said in a prepared statement.

“Poland Spring hasn’t just established a presence here in Lincoln, it’s established relationships that make it an engaged part of our community,” Lincoln Town Manager Rick Bronson said.

Poland Spring will sell the water as “100 percent natural spring water.” It’s a claim that has drawn complaints from consumers alleging the water is not totally from springs.

In May, a federal judge in Connecticut dismissed a class-action fraud lawsuit against Poland Spring’s parent, Nestle Waters North America Inc. The judge did not rule on allegations that the bottles filled from sites around Maine actually contain common groundwater. The decision leaves the door open for the suit to proceed with revised claims.

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