Nestlé Waters has identified Centre County as the possible location for its third bottling facility in Pennsylvania, USA and would aim to have it operational by 2020.

The company is yet to make an official decision about the estimated $50 million manufacturing facility, but is reportedly considering sites in the county for the factory after reviewing environmental sustainability, local infrastructure and community support for the project.

The possible expansion into Centre County was prompted by Nestlé Waters’ need to expand beyond its Allentown factory as a result of increased demand for bottled water which, according to Nestlé, surpassed carbonated beverages as the most popular drink in 2017 in the US.

The company, in conjunction with the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County (CBICC), has worked to determine the feasibility of the project, which would see the site produce Deer Park brand bottled water for distribution in the Mid-Atlantic as part of the company’s regional spring water model.

CBICC’s president Vern Squier and chief executive Eric Andreus commented that the facility would likely inject roughly $55m annually into the economy and support an estimated 50 well-paid, full-time jobs in addition to about 100 jobs created through construction.

According to Andreus, Nestlé would purchase roughly 300 gallons of water per minute from the Spring Township Water Authority. Nestlé’s spokesperson Kerrin Garripoli commented that the potential withdrawal would support two bottling lines and amount to less than one per cent of the average daily discharge of Spring Creek at Milesburg.

“When we commit to a bottling facility it’s a long-term commitment,” Andreus said. “That’s why it takes a number of years to build a facility, because we have a lot of research to do upfront, a lot of due diligence on the water sources to ensure we can rely on those sources for the long-term to support our business and to ensure withdrawals of water won’t have a negative impact on the environment or residents’ ability to access water.

“It’s not only important for us to identify the resources and other components of any project, but it’s also just as important to get to know the community and to make sure the community is going to be a good fit as well. That’s the primary reason to begin communications early, share information, get the facts out there and obtain feedback. We’re new to the community and we’ve generally been welcomed with open arms to this point, but we want to learn more about the community, which we want to become a member of.”