BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Some Poland Spring bottled water is actually taken from sources that are surrounded by asphalt parking lots or potentially dangerous contamination, according to a lawsuit filed in Superior Court.

The suit filed Wednesday against Nestle Waters North America Inc., the Greenwich-based subsidiary of Nestle S.A., seeks designation as a class action.

The company quickly responded to the allegations Thursday, calling them “completely unfounded.” Maine’s governor put out his own statement calling the claims “outrageous.”

Nestle advertises that Poland Spring water comes from “some of the most pristine and protected sources deep in the woods of Maine.” Poland Spring water is bottled at plants in Hollis and Poland, Maine.

The lawsuit contends that while the water comes from Maine, it doesn’t meet the scientific definition for spring water.

Similar suits also were filed in New Jersey and Massachusetts, attorneys said.

The suit argues that Nestle’s claims of Poland Spring as “found deep in the woods of Maine” and “exceptionally well protected by nature” intentionally deceives customers about the true nature of the sources.

“We believe this is nothing more than a bottled-water bait and switch,” Tom Sobol, the attorney representing consumers, said in a statement. “Consumers purchase Poland Spring thinking they’re getting a higher quality natural spring water, but our lawsuit will show that Poland Spring is neither natural nor spring water, and in fact comes from sources of a lesser quality than some tap water.”

On Thursday, Nestle denied the allegations. “We’re not in a position to enter into details on an ongoing court case. But we’re confident that we will win. This is our bottom line,” Nestle spokesman Hans-Joerg Renk said.

Renk said each bottle lists the spring from which the water was drawn and the water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and meets all state regulations.

“We guarantee that Poland Spring is pure, natural spring water that has an excellent track record for quality,” Renk said.

Gov. John Baldacci issued his own statement, saying Poland Spring water “is one of the most trusted products the state of Maine has ever produced.

“Poland Spring has an outstanding track record as an environmental steward and as a corporate citizen in Maine. They are a company that has maintained an excellent regulatory record. These allegations are outrageous and we know this because we have exercised regulatory oversight of this company for over 20 years,” he said.

There are currently four sources for Poland Spring water, but the original spring stopped producing enough water in 1967 and was shut down, the lawsuit says.

The suit accuses Nestle Waters of violating the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The plaintiffs, Michele Savalle and SDB Trucking LLC of New London County, are described in the suit as longtime consumers of Poland Spring water.

Poland Spring, which employs 600 people in Maine, started with a bottling plant in the town of Poland and opened a second plant in the summer of 2000 in Hollis. The company is now considering six to eight different sites in Maine for a third bottling plant, which it hopes to have in operation in 2006.

Among bottled spring water brands, Poland Spring is the nation’s largest, with 2001 sales of $542 million, according to Beverage Marketing Corp. of New York.

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