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.


There is foam accumulating on the lake? Is this indicative of pollution?

Most lake foam is caused when the surface tension of water is decreased and air is mixed into the water. Organic materials from naturally decaying plants and animals can reduce the surface tension of water, and when the wind blows across it, or waves wash against the shore, bubbles are produced.

Most foam observed in lakes or streams is naturally occurring, and not an indicator of pollution.


Is Sebago Lake clean?

Very! Sebago Lake is relatively young, as lakes go, is underlain by tough Sebago granite, and its watershed is mostly forested. The greatest threats to any lake’s cleanliness come from human activities. Sebago Lake is the deepest lake in New England and contains almost a trillion gallons of water. This doesn’t mean it’s invincible, but it takes more effort to pollute that much water. Put all these factors together and you have one of the nation’s finest water supply lakes.

How deep is Sebago Lake?

For years it was commonly believed that the deep hole of Sebago Lake reached down to 316 feet. A recent survey, however, has measured the maximum depth at 307 feet. Still, this makes Sebago Lake the deepest lake in all of New England. If you were standing on the bottom of the “deep hole” in Big Bay, your feet would be 41 feet below sea level!

What is lake turnover?

In the summer, the lake “stratifies” or develops layers of different temperatures that do not mix. Perhaps you’ve noticed the effect– have you ever kicked into a cooler layer while swimming at the warm surface? As fall nights chill the lake’s surface, the top layer of water cools, becomes heavier, and eventually sinks. Water that was at the bottom of the lake is displaced– it rises to the top, bringing with it lots of bottom nutrients. Fall winds mix these layers, distributing oxygen and nutrients from top to bottom, until ice forms.

How does the lake freeze?

In the fall, when water cools, it becomes more dense and sinks to the bottom of the lake. Water is “heaviest” at 39 degrees F. As winter nights cool the water from 39 degrees down to 32 degrees, it expands and freezes! Expanded, frozen water (ice) is less dense, and lighter, so it floats! The fact that ice forms from the top down is lucky for fish and lucky for us - the ice acts as an insulator; and the heavier water at the bottom remains in its liquid form.

Is it OK to feed the ducks on Sebago Lake?

Resist the urge to feed ducks or any water fowl. “People” food is far less nutritious to a duck than its normal diet. Handouts may cause ducks to become tame and more exposed to natural predators. Migration could be delayed. Ducks are perfectly capable of finding food, unless they have become overly dependent on human handouts.

Duck feeding causes problems for people, too. Duck waste may contain bacteria and parasites that are unhealthy for humans.

How should I fill my fish aquarium?

First, allow at least 1 gallon of water to run from the tap before using the water to fill the aquarium. This will flush any copper or zinc from copper or galvanized piping in your home; tropical fish are very sensitive to small amounts of copper or zinc in their water. Let the water sit in the aquarium for an hour or two until it reaches room temperature. Consult your local pet store to learn how to test for and remove any disinfectant in the water. You must remove disinfectants such as chloramine from the water before you add fish.

Some people say I should put a brick in my toilet tank to save water. How does that save water and is it a good idea?

Toilet flushing uses a lot of water, 40% of a household's total water usage. Putting something in the toilet tank that takes up space, like a toilet dam or a water filled jug, is a good idea. But putting a brick in the tank is not a good idea. Bricks tend to crumble and might damage your toilet.

My water faucet drips, should I fix it?

Yes. Drips waste a precious resource - water, and it costs you money. As an example, if you have a faucet that drips 60 times a minute, this adds up to over 3 gallons each day or 1,225 gallons each year. To fix a leak, call your local plumber.