AUGUSTA — The Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee has scheduled a public hearing next week on a bill that would allow Rumford residents to vote on commercial extraction of water for resale.

It will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, in Cross Building Room 211, which is across from the State House.

Sponsored by Sen. Lisa Keim, R-Dixfield, “An Act To Amend the Charter of the Rumford Water District” also includes language to require a minimum participation in the vote.

On Dec. 7, Mark Dubois, a geologist and natural resource manager for Poland Spring Water Co., proposed a 15- to 20-year contract to the Rumford Water District for Poland Spring to draw up to 150 million gallons a year from two new wells on district property off Route 5.

In exchange, Poland Spring could pay the district more than $400,000 in annual lease and water payments.

The offer was made at a public meeting attended by 175 district ratepayers.

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On Jan. 4, Water District trustees voted to begin negotiations with Poland Spring Water Co. The motion included having a draft agreement available for public inspection March 1, a notice of a public hearing on it April 5, and a board action on any final agreement May 3.

On Jan. 10, selectmen voted 3-2 to deny a citizen petition requesting a special town meeting to vote on a moratorium on the sale of the town’s water.

“There have been many legitimate concerns voiced by Rumford citizens and their neighboring communities with regard to the commercial extraction of water by the Rumford Water District for commercial sale,” Keim said. “If passed, my legislation will give a voice to the residents of Rumford. I believe it to be the best path forward for both the town and Nestle (Waters North America).”

Nestle is the parent of Poland Spring Water Co.

Keim urges those with concerns to attend the hearing and bring 25 copies of their testimony. For those who can’t attend, testimony can be emailed to Abben Maguire at [email protected]


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