The Portland Water District maintains a 1,000-mile network of water mains ranging from 60 inches to 2 inches, pump stations, and reservoirs that bring water from Sebago Lake to your home or business. A comprehensive water main renewal program and flushing program ensure clean and fresh water.
Large water mains, transmission mains, extend from the treatment facility to Westbrook and Portland. Having more than one transmission main is not a coincidence. As with the whole distribution system, redundancy is maintained to ensure minimum interruptions in water service.
Roughly 25 million gallons of water is kept in storage. This helps maintain proper pressure, and it allows for a water reserve in case of an emergency, like a fire or a flood.
Fire protection is a very important focus within the water distribution system. In fact, public water flowed from Sebago Lake over 100 years ago after devastating fires in Portland. After that, people realized that private wells were no longer sufficient for fire protection, or the increasing water demands in the Greater Portland area.
Because fire protection is so important, the 5,000 hydrants the District owns are regularly tested and cleaned to ensure they are operating correctly.
Water Main Flushing Program
The Portland Water District flushes water mains from April - October. In an effort to reduce customer inconveniences, crews will work from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Sunday through Thursday night.
This maintenance activity uses a high velocity flow of water in the opposite direction of natural flow to keep the water mains clean and fresh. During flushing, any sediment that may be in the mains is released out the hydrants.
Customers may notice short periods of water discoloration; however, this program is essential to maintain water quality and public health. If customers experience any change in water quality following maintenance activities or have security concerns regarding Portland Water District employees, please call 761-8310.