FAQs

Is tap water suitable for use in a home kidney dialysis machine?

No, not without further treatment. In a kidney dialysis machine, the water used is brought into close contact with the patient's blood. Thus, the quality requirements are far stricter than those for ordinary drinking water. Aluminum, fluoride, and chloramine are examples of substances that are not acceptable in water used for kidney dialysis. Kidney dialysis centers are kept informed about water quality and are able to give advice on this matter.

Should I use a home water filter?

Our water meets all drinking water standards and doesn’t require additional treatment beyond what it already receives; however the choice to use a home filtration system is yours to make. Home filtration products can reduce chlorine levels and water cloudiness, which some would prefer not to taste, smell or see. In some cases, these filtration products can also remove metals such as lead and copper that could dissolve in the water during contact with household plumbing.

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Where can I find additional information about the quality of my tap water?

The Portland Water District publishes annually a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) which reports the levels of all regulated contaminants detected in the drinking water. In addition, the report provides an overview of your drinking water source and its treatment; it is a good tool for making informed choices that affect your health and that of your family.

Why is boating allowed on the southern end of the lake but swimming is not allowed?

The PWD doesn’t allow boats, the State doesn’t prohibit them. Only the legislature could prohibit them and they have not chosen to do so.

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Who owns the boat launch in Standish and what are the plans for the future?

The PWD owns all land around the boat launch except for a 99-foot right of way (ROW) to the water which is owned by the town of Standish. The PWD has begun to revegetate the land around the 99-foot ROW to improve water quality in Lower Bay.

Over the years the PWD has presented more than six boat launch relocation proposals to the Standish Town Council. The most recent proposal was voted down by the people in 2003.

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Why is the PWD concerned about invasive aquatic plants?

An invasive plant infestation of the lake could lead to water quality problems, including (1) the illegal use of aquatic herbicides; (2) an accelerated increase in lake productivity and resulting decrease in water quality; and (3) more organic matter impacting intake and treatment equipment

Why does the PWD allow ice fishing inside the 2-mile limit?

PWD does not have the authority to limit ice fishing. The state allows ice fishing and is the only entity that can limit it. The state did pass a law prohibiting cars and trucks from being on the ice within 2 miles of the water intakes. This was passed after a truck broke through the ice.

In an attempt to limit the impact of ice fishing on water quality, the PWD conducts patrols during the ice fishing season, asking fishermen to use porta-potties located at the shore and to fuel ice fishing equipment on shore rather than on the ice.

Does PWD control the level of water in Sebago Lake?

No. The dam that controls the level of Sebago Lake is owned by SAPPI (formerly SD Warren) in Westbrook. SAPPI is required to manage lake level according to a compromise plan, developed in the 1990s by individuals, groups, and state agencies who had differing points of view about the best plan for managing the level of the lake. The compromise plan has target levels for certain weeks of the year. Drought years are built into the compromise plan.

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Does the PWD have authority to control uses of the lake?

Some. The PWD is recognized as the primary entity responsible for promotion and oversight of lake protection issues in the Sebago Lake region. The PWD's Watershed Control Program relies on the support of other regulatory authorities - local, state, and federal - and on education and outreach to impact other human activities that are not governed by any law or regulation.

If the PWD built a water filtration plant, would there still be a need for lake protection?

Absolutely. The PWD was granted a waiver from the filtration requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act in part because lake water quality is so high. The PWD believes the waiver to filtration saves our customers a significant amount of money without compromising the protection of their health. And we are committed to protection of the source as one component of our effort to maintain the waiver. But PWD was committed to protecting Sebago Lake before the waiver and will continue to protect the lake as long as it is a source of drinking water, regardless of the type of treatment used.

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