Poland Spring plans to build a $50 million bottling plant that would employ about 80 people and is eyeing sites around Fryeburg, Rumford and northeast of Bangor, the Sun Journal reported.
Company officials told the paper that construction of its fourth bottling plant would help support growing sales, as bottled water sales surpassed soda by volume last year. Its water is the top-selling brand of bottled spring water in the U.S.
The company bottled about 821 million gallons of water last year, and the expansion would allow it to bottle 400 million more.
The Nestle subsidiary said jobs at the new facility would pay average wages of about $20 per hour.
The company also is looking for two new spring sites that would be within an hour’s drive of the new plant, adding to an ongoing search for a third new spring in Rumford.
The expansion has again sparked concern from water-rights activists who have criticized the company’s growing appetite for Maine water and its exclusive 25-year deal to purchase groundwater from the Fryeburg Water Co.
The Associated Press reported the company expects the new plant to open between 2020 and 2022.