FAQs

What are the symptoms of water-borne illness?

Disease symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea and possible jaundice and associated headaches and fatigue. Symptoms may appear as early as a few hours to several days after infection and may last more than two weeks. These symptoms, however, are not just associated with disease-causing organisms in drinking water; they may also be caused by a number of other factors. If you are ill with these symptoms, contact your health care provider.

What if I drank the water already?

There is nothing you can do about possible exposure you have already received. Most people who drink this water will not get sick. If you become ill, contact your health care provider. Follow the above recommendations about using your water until you are told the water is safe again.

How long will the boil order remain in effect?

Each boil order situation is different, making it impossible to predict how long the boil order will remain in effect. It will not be lifted until testing shows that the water meets public health standards. Boil water advisories or boil water orders are lifted when the water is considered safe and no longer poses a threat to public health.

What should I do when the boil water advisory or order has been lifted?

Consumers should flush water pipes within the home. Some types of water treatment devices may need to be disinfected and flushed to remove any contaminated water before being used. Depending on the type of water treatment device, the device may need to be replaced. Check with the manufacturer for details.

Drinking Water Lines Flushing Fact Sheet

Where can I find more information?

In the case of any emergency water advisory, updates will be provided at www.pwd.org and on our Facebook page and through frequent media contact.

Do you have any advice for the food service industry during a boil order?

Food Service Guidance

Contact your local health department for guidance.

How will the payment appear on my statement?

If you pay by a bank account, a single transaction will appear as Portland Water on your statement.  If you pay by credit card, two transactions will appear on you credit card statement.  One from Portland Water for the amount paid toward the bill, the other from MyOnlineBill in the amount of the online processing fee.  

This winter and spring I have noticed a stronger chlorine taste to my water, is Portland Water District adding more chlorine?

During the winter and spring months PWD actually adds less chloramine (chlorine compound) to the water, but because of the colder water temperature chlorine lasts longer (doesn’t dissipate as quickly) as the water travels through the water distribution system. Therefore, depending where you live, you may experience slightly more chlorine taste in the winter/spring than in the summer/fall.

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I’ve heard a lot about Flint, MI and the high levels of lead in their water. Should I be concerned about my water here in the Greater Portland area?

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.

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Maine is experiencing a drought. Is PWD affected?

Sebago Lake level is about a foot below normal for this time of year; however, there is no impact to the public water supply. Sebago Lake is the second largest lake in Maine and holds nearly a trillion gallons of water. The public water intake pipes are deep below the surface. The Steep Falls well system supplies approximately 120 customers from a well system which would be more sensitive to a prolonged drought. It is being monitored and to date there has been no impact on our ability to meet the needs of our Steep Falls customers. 10/25/2016

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