COVID 19 Response; Current Service Impacts

03.13.2020

5/4/20: Activation of seasonal water services is underway throughout our service area and will be complete by June 1.

4/6/20:  The Portland Water District Board of Trustees unanimously voted to table the water rate increase that was scheduled to take place May 1. 

4/3/20: Seasonal Water Service has been delayed until June 1.  Installation appointments will begin May 5. 

3/27/20: Current Service Impacts Due to COVID 19 Response

Water Disconnections:  Disconnection notices and all water disconnections have been suspended on March 16 until further notice.

Late fees:  The Portland Water District has waived water late fees until 30 days after the State of Emergency ends.  Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Gorham, Portland, and Westbrook have also agreed to waive late fees on the wastewater portion of the bill. 

Customer Service: The Customer Service Center is closed to the public.  Customer Service Representatives are available to assist the public over the phone at 761-8310.  Payments can still be dropped off at Customer Service in the overnight/lock box outside the door.

Cross Connections Control Program: The testing and reporting requirements of the Cross Connections Control Program have been suspended until further notice.

Sebago Lake Land Reserve (SLLR): SLLR daily land access permit requirements have been suspended. The land reserve is still open for use during normal hours of operation.

Facilities: All facilities are closed to non-essential external individuals.  All staff who can work remotely are doing so at this time.

Tours: All public tours have been suspended until further notice. 

Board of Trustees Meetings: The March 23 board meeting was cancelled and rescheduled to a  virtual meeting on April 6.  Moving forward meetings will be held virtually through telephone conferencing until such time as it is safe to resume in person meetings.

Non-essential Water Service Appointments: Hydrant inspections, non-emergency flushing, meter upgrades, and other non-essential program work has been suspended for at least 2-3 weeks. 

Construction Projects:  Wastewater plant projects and pump station projects are continuing. Water main replacement projects will not start until after April 15th. Main Extensions and New Services (MEANS) are continuing plan reviews, service applications and inspection.  Spring St. transmission valve replacement, River Road (MDOT project), and Maine Mall Road (highway widening project) are continuing. 

Septage:  Acceptance of septage to our wastewater facilities is limited to emergency septage and holding waste only through at least April 8th.

 

 

3/16/20: Portland Water District takes further steps to protect public and employees to ease impacts and extent of the COVID-19 outbreak; assures customers water is safe.

The Portland Water District wants to assure you that your water is safe to drink. We use dual water treatments, ozone and ultraviolet light, that effectively inactivate viruses and kill pathogens. COVID-19 is mainly thought to spread between people who are in close contact with one another, not through water, according to the CDC.  The EPA states that the presence of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence the risk to water supplies is low.

“We want to assure customers our goal is always to protect public health and safety, both that of our customers and our employees.  We provide critical water and wastewater services to the public, and we have taken steps to ensure the continued delivery of essential services throughout this event,” said General Manager Carrie Lewis.  

The Portland Water District's offices, including Customer Service, and facilities will be closed to the public until further notice and the March 23rd Board of Trustees meeting is cancelled.  Payments can still be dropped off at Customer Service in the overnight/lock box outside the door.

Our focus now is on providing essential services.  All others, including service appointments, will be evaluated and postponed if possible.

We have suspended water disconnections until further notice.  Disinfection and sanitation are critical to prevent the spread of the virus.

Stay safe and healthy,

 

Carrie Lewis

General Manager

 

3/13/20: A Message to Our Customers About COVID-19

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) sweeps the United States and is now in Maine, you’ve likely taken steps to protect yourself and your family. Here at the Portland Water District we know you depend on us to provide vital water and wastewater services, so we’ve taken steps to protect our staff, their families, and our community to ensure the continued delivery of the critical services we provide. 

We want to assure you that your water is safe to drink.  The United States has strong regulations governing public water, and here at the Portland Water District we use dual water treatments, ozone and ultraviolet light, that effectively inactivate viruses and kill pathogens. For more information, please visit https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-drinking-water-and-waste....

We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and decided this week to open our Emergency Operations Center to better navigate what is likely to be a complex and prolonged situation. In addition we have reviewed and activated our Continuity of Operations Plans which guide operations should we experience increased absenteeism.

We are following recommendations of health authorities including both the state and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the well-being of our employees and adequate staffing levels to maintain critical services. Protections implemented include increasing sanitation and disinfection of workspaces, cancelling large gatherings, minimizing non-essential meetings, and promoting common sense personal hygiene practices.  Systems and procedures are being developed to monitor employee illness and promote work-from-home options as reasonable and feasible.

Please be assured our goal is always to protect public health and safety.  Because disinfection and sanitation are critical to combat the spread of the virus, we have suspended water disconnections until further notice. 

We will take appropriate steps to keep our workforce healthy and able to provide the public services you depend on. We are closely following developments and will respond swiftly during this rapidly evolving event. Together, we can help minimize the impacts and extent of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Stay safe and healthy,

 

Carrie Lewis

General Manager