Has the Portland Water District taken any steps to reduce possible lead in the water?

Recent updates

The Portland Water District’s tap water meets the Lead and Copper Rule requirements and your water is safe to drink.

When public drinking water systems first began testing for lead in the early 1990s as a result of the then recently released EPA Lead and Copper Rule, many (including  PWD) found lead levels higher than the allowable amounts. Although Sebago Lake does not have lead in it, the Lead and Copper Rule requires water samples be taken from high-risk homes.

PWD immediately conducted a corrosion control study that identified the necessary steps to make the water less corrosive to household plumbing and ultimately reduce lead at the tap.   The Corrosion Control Strategy was successfully implemented under the guidance of the Maine Drinking Water Program.

A survey of the distribution system found no public service lines therefore the primary  strategy involved raising the pH of the water leaving the Sebago Lake facility and adding a corrosion inhibitor, zinc orthophosphate, to minimize lead being leached into the water from home plumbing systems.  At the same time, more than 200 samples per year were collected by customers from their homes and analyzed for lead. 

In 2002 after continued adherence to the strategy, testing showed lead levels consistently below the allowable amount and the Maine Drinking Water Program deemed the program “optimized,” meaning the levels were as low as was practically possible and going forward the chemistry of the water had to be maintained. The Corrosion Control Strategy continues, and we confirm its effectiveness through quarterly water quality tests.  Because of the effectiveness of our program, sampling requirements have been reduced.  Since 2002, all samples continue to show that the Corrosion Control Strategy is successful.