FAQs

My bill says I have a credit balance, what does that mean?

A credit balance will occur when you pay more than the amount you owe, or if we adjusted your account because we over billed you. The Total Amount Due on your bill payment stub will have a CR after the amount.

Are there pharmaceuticals in my drinking water?

Last year Associated Press news reports shed some light on the widespread concern that medications are being detected in the drinking water of our nation’s largest cities. Major sources of pharmaceuticals in waterways are direct discharges from wastewater facilities and septic systems – either from people flushing unused medications down the toilet or from unabsorbed drugs being excreted from the human body.

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Is there lead in my water?

There is no lead in the water when it leaves the Sebago Lake Water Treatment Facility. PWD has always been in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule, and has met the standard since 2001.

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There is pink slime in my shower. Is it caused by my water?

No, certain species of airborne bacteria gravitate towards and thrive in a moist environment, such as showers, toilet bowls, sink drains, tiles, and dog dishes. These slimes are naturally occurring and can be unattractive but are generally harmless. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep these surfaces free from the bacterial film through regular cleaning using Lysol or a chlorine-based product.

Is water treated with chlorine safe to drink?

Yes. Many tests have shown that the amount of chlorine found in treated water is safe to drink. Chlorine is needed to maintain disinfection throughout the distribution system. The potential for water contamination when chlorine is not used, outweighs any long-term concerns.

Why does my water sometimes look cloudy?

The cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to the gas bubbles in beer and carbonated soft drinks. It is particularly noticeable in water taken directly from the tap. Within seconds, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone. This type of cloudiness occurs more often in the winter, when water temperature is colder, and does not indicate any problem with the water.

What is the hardness of my water?

Hardness levels in Maine waters are generally low but can range from near zero to several hundred milligrams per liter as calcium carbonate (mg/L as CaCO3), the standard unit for hardness. The Greater Portland water source (Sebago Lake) has a hardness value of 9 and is described as soft, as you can see from the following table.

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There is a blue-green stain where my water drips into my sink. What causes this?

This stain comes from the chemical copper. Copper is present in your home plumbing and can dissolve into the drinking water. If you would like to have your water tested for copper, or lead, please contact a customer service representative at the Portland Water District.

What is the Portland Water District's position on fluoride?

Maine law mandates that a public water system must add fluoride to the water if a majority of customers votes to do so. The customers of the Portland Water District voted to have their water fluoridated in 1996 and, as required, the District began fluoridating soon thereafter. The method we use to add fluoride, the fluoride-containing chemical we use, and the means of monitoring the level of fluoride all meet drinking water industry standards and were approved by the Maine Drinking Water Program prior to being put into use.

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Should I buy bottled water?

The Portland Water District water is of excellent quality and it meets all federal drinking water standards. However, those immuno-compromised, such as people with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, people undergoing organ transplants, people with AIDS/HIV or other immune system disorders, or some elderly and infants, should consult a doctor. All drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain small amounts of contaminants.

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