Maine Residents Detail the Hidden Cost of Nestle/Poland Spring Bottling Operation

I received this via email – the story of Maine residents suffering an often-ignored impact of Nestle/Poland Spring’s water bottling plants, and the indifference of Nestle/Poland Spring’s representative.

That impact? Truck traffic. Lots of it. But I’ll let them tell their story:

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I am writing to express our concern regarding more trucks and traffic generated by Poland Springs. We have read with interest the articles regarding the legal battle that Western Maine Residents for Rural Living is fighting against more Poland Springs activity.

Almost all the publicity that we have seen is focused on Fryeburg and its immediate surrounding area. My husband and I live on Rte. 11, Steep Falls, Cumberland County.

When Poland Springs tanker trucks are using this route to the Hollis bottling plant, we have trucks passing at least every half hour, 24 hours a day. In the summer, when I assume water demand is greater, we have at least one truck pass by every 15 minutes, occasionally every 5 or 6 minutes, 24 hours a day.

Our little stretch of road is Main Street in the village of Steep Falls, with a speed limit of 25 mph. Most houses are over 100 years old and are no more than 15 to 20 feet from the narrow road bed. We have no sidewalks. If two trucks cross the bridge in opposite directions it gives them 12″ of clearance on either side.

Often they will air brake to a stop, because two vehicles of that size cannot cross the bridge at the same time with that little clearance. Frequently there are crews out repairing the bridge that was built in 1936.

This has been an ongoing problem for us and our neighbors, as well as our neighbors on Rte. 113. I have had several meetings and phone conversations with Mark Dubois who makes many promises, but rarely delivers.

After three plus years of calling, and tracking the speed of the trucks with our own calibrated speed gun, we have finally gotten most of the Poland Springs trucks to travel at the speed limit, at least when they think someone may be watching. At night, the speed increases.

We are terrified that if Nestle wins this battle, we will have even more truck traffic rattling our houses, cracking our foundations and ceilings and causing a danger to any pedestrian on our street.

We wanted to say that the traffic problem is quite widespread beyond the Fryeburg area, and that other communities are unhappy with the truck traffic as it is now and, of course, the possibility of even more commercial truck traffic on our very narrow rural roads.

If we can be of any help in your battle against the Nestle Corporation increasing its hold on our small towns and lifestyles, please let us know.

Sincerely,
Janet and Michael Blanck

11 thoughts on “Maine Residents Detail the Hidden Cost of Nestle/Poland Spring Bottling Operation

  1. During the permitting process in Fryeburg for the Route 302 truck station, Nestle, specifically Tom Brennan, made promises and provided maps of the only routes that Nestle travels to and from their bottling plants. Only problem is, you see their trucks on all sorts of roads that they never admit to using. And they don’t use the state roads, they have been seen on local secondary roads.

    Tom also promised that they always abided by the posted speed limits. As indicated in the email above, they really don’t. They’ve passed school buses doing the speed limit when the buses were loaded with school children. I have followed them leaving a residential area when the trucks were accelerating to 30mph OVER the posted speed limit.

  2. Small communities always seem to underestimate the impacts of traffic when it comes to Nestle stuff; the McCloud project was slated to generate upwards of 500 truck trips per day – almost all of it sent over a narrow, steep, icy-all-winter rural highway used by half the population to get to the ski area.

    I can only imagine it as a slow-moving, long-term disaster in the making.

    Thanks so much for bringing this issue to light. Should you ever decide to contact Nestle about the trucking issues you described, I’d love to hear there response.

  3. These trucking issues have been brought up to Nestle on numerous occasions. Tom Brennan’s response was to suggest that “you identify the truck number from the cab and call him, then Nestle would take appropriate action”.

    Yeah, right…….

  4. How about we get the truck number (or video, or the license number, and the date & time) and call the newspaper? The heck with Nestle’s “appropriate” action – if they can’t stick to their agreements, they should be held publicly accountable.

  5. TC, Great idea, but not one that’s really practical given the Nestle PR machine. Heck the papers in Maine never covered any of the lawsuits that Nestle has been involved in, from the class action suit to the latest appeal currently in the Supreme Court.

    Even the local papers are not covering the local issues from the people’s perspective. Sounds like the PR machine is at work.

  6. George: It’s not just their PR machine; Nestle’s business template involves putting an operative on the ground who cozies up to political types (witness what’s happening in Shapleigh) and local media. It’s certainly difficult for local activists – who aren’t professionals, have other jobs, and aren’t backed by media experts – to compete.

  7. Report from Fryeburg ME.. There is no question that Nestle’s has placed people onto certain committees and have a number of “local community people who just love Nestle.” It’s very hard to prove that they receive anything, but their methods are definitely coordinated. We will not stop the fight. Nestles would like us to just get over it, we can’t do anything about it, so we might as well join them!!!!! It’s like saying to a woman getting raped, you can’t stop it , so you might as well lay back and enjoy it. We will not lay back and enjoy it. Ever

  8. Scot: I’m also hearing rumors that one of the people leading the opposition to Nestle’s truck loading station in Fryeburg is in danger of seeing her job taken away. Any truth?

  9. The local librarian in Fryeburg had a shot fired over her bow by the Nestles supporters. They got up at town meeting and tried to get her fired. It was ugly. They are now forming a business group that is trying to get the message out that Fryeburg is “anti-business so we need to get more ” business friendly people in the town offices. I think some of the business people realized that they are just being used to help Nestle get the bottling facility they want.

  10. scot montgomery: The local librarian in Fryeburg had a shot fired over her bow by the Nestles supporters. They got up at town meeting and tried to get her fired.

    I’d heard about this and spoke to Emily, but wanted to lay low on this until the matter is resolved. It’s unpretty indeed.

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