Layer 1

Is Portland Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Yes! Generally Safe to Drink*

LAST UPDATED: 7:49 pm, July 26, 2022

Table of Contents

Can You Drink Tap Water in Portland?

Yes, Portland's tap water is generally considered safe to drink as Portland has no active health based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that we are aware of. Other factors such as lead piping in a home, or low levels of pollutants on immunocompromised individuals, should also be considered, however. To find more recent info we might have, you can check out our boil water notice page, the city's water provider website, or Portland's local Twitter account.

According the EPA’s ECHO database, from April 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022, Portland's water utility, Portland Water District-Greater, had 2 non-health-based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. For more details on the violations, please see our violation history section below. The last violation for Portland was resolved on June 30, 2021. This assessment is based on the Portland Water District-Greater water system, other water systems in the city may have different results.

While tap water that meets the EPA health guidelines generally won’t make you sick to your stomach, it can still contain regulated and unregulated contaminants present in trace amounts that could potentially cause health issues over the long-run. These trace contaminants may also impact immunocompromised and vulnerable individuals.

The EPA is reviewing if it’s current regulations around pollutant levels in tap water are strict enough, and the health dangers posed by unregulated pollutants, like PFAS.

Water Quality Report for Portland Tap Water

The most recent publicly available numbers for measured contaminant levels in Portland tap water are in its 2020 Water Quality Report. As you can see, there are levels which the EPA considers to be acceptable, but being below the maximum allowable level doesn’t necessarily mean the water is healthy.

Lead in tap water, for example, is currently allowed at up to 15ppb by the EPA, but it has set the ideal goal for lead at zero. This highlights how meeting EPA standards doesn’t necessarily mean local tap water is healthy.

EPA regulations continue to change as it evaluates the long term impacts of chemicals and updates drinking water acceptable levels. The rules around arsenic, as well as, lead and copper are currently being re-evaluated.

There are also a number of "emerging" contaminants that are not currently. For example, PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), for which the EPA has issued a health advisory. PFAS are called "forever chemicals" since they tend not to break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time.

We recommend looking at the contaminants present in Portland's water quality reports, or getting your home's tap water tested to see if you should be filtering your water.

Portland Tap Water Safe Drinking Water Act Violation History - Prior 10 Years

Below is a ten year history of violations for the water system named Portland Water District-Greater for Portland in Maine. For more details please see the "What do these Violations Mean?" section below.

From April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021, Portland had 2 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violations with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) which falls into the Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code group, and the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code family for the following contaminant codes: Bromate, CARBON, TOTAL.

Is there Lead in Portland Water?

Based on the EPA’s ECHO Database, 90% of the samples taken from the Portland water system, Portland Water District-Greater, between sample start date and sample end date, were at or below, 0.0033 mg/L of lead in Portland water. This is 22.0% of the 0.015 mg/L action level. This means 10% of the samples taken from Portland contained more lead.

While Portland water testing may have found 0.0033 mg/L of lead in its water, that does not mean your water source has the same amount. The amount of lead in water in a city can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even building to building. Many buildings, particularly older ones, have lead pipes or service lines which can be a source of contamination. To find out if your home has lead, we recommend getting you water tested.

No amount of lead in water is healthy, only less dangerous. As lead accumulates in our bodies over time, even exposure to relatively small amounts can have negative health effects. For more information, please check out our Lead FAQ page.

Are there PFAS in Portland Tap Water?

Currently, testing tap water for PFAS isn’t mandated on a national level. We do have a list of military bases where there have been suspected or confirmed leaks. There appears to be at least one military base - Brunswick Naval Air Station - near Portland with suspected leaks.

With many potential sources of PFAS in tap water across the US, the best information we currently have about which cities have PFAS in their water is this ewg map, which you can check to see if Portland has been evaluated for yet.

Our stance is better safe than sorry, and that it makes sense to try to purify the tap water just in case.

Portland SDWA Violation History Table - Prior 10 Years

Compliance Period Status Health-Based? Category Code Code Rule Code Contaminant Code Rule Group Code Rule Family Code
04/01/2021 - 06/30/2021 Resolved No Monitoring and Reporting (MR) Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) (27) Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210) Bromate (1011) Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200) Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)
04/01/2021 - 06/30/2021 Resolved No Monitoring and Reporting (MR) Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) (27) Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210) CARBON, TOTAL (2920) Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200) Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (210)

What do these Violations Mean?

Safe Drinking Water Act Violations categories split into two groups, health based, and non-health based. Generally, health based violations are more serious, though non-health based violations can also be cause for concern.

Health Based Violations

  1. Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) - maximum allowed contaminant level was exceeded.
  2. Maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs) - maximum allowed disinfectant level was exceeded.
  3. Other violations (Other) - the exact required process to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water was not followed.

Non-Health Based Violations

  1. Monitoring and reporting violations (MR, MON) - failure to conduct the required regular monitoring of drinking water quality, and/or to submit monitoring results on time.
  2. Public notice violations (Other) - failure to immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water that may pose a risk to public health.
  3. Other violations (Other) - miscellaneous violations, such as failure to issue annual consumer confidence reports or maintain required records.

SDWA Table Key

Field Description
Compliance Period Dates of the compliance period.
Status Current status of the violation.
  • Resolved - The violation has at least one resolving enforcement action. In SDWIS, this indicates that either the system has returned to compliance from the violation, the rule that was violated was no longer applicable, or no further action was needed.
  • Archived - The violation is not Resolved, but is more than five years past its compliance period end date. In keeping with the Enforcement Response Policy, the violation no longer contributes to the public water system's overall compliance status. Unresolved violations are also marked as Archived when a system ceases operations (becomes inactive).
  • Addressed - The violation is not Resolved or Archived, and is addressed by one or more formal enforcement actions.
  • Unaddressed - The violation is not Resolved or Archived, and has not been addressed by formal enforcement.
show details
Health-Based? Whether the violation is health based.
Category Code
The category of violation that is reported.
  • TT - Treatment Technique Violation
  • MRDL - Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level
  • Other - Other Violation
  • MCL - Maximum Contaminant Level Violation
  • MR - Monitoring and Reporting
  • MON - Monitoring Violation
  • RPT - Reporting Violation
show details
Code A full description of violation codes can be accessed in the SDWA_REF_CODE_VALUES (CSV) table.
Contaminant Code A code value that represents a contaminant for which a public water system has incurred a violation of a primary drinking water regulation.
Rule Code Code for a National Drinking Water rule.
  • 110 - Total Coliform Rule
  • 121 - Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 122 - Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 123 - Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 130 - Filter Backwash Rule
  • 140 - Ground Water Rule
  • 210 - Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 220 - Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 230 - Total Trihalomethanes
  • 310 - Volatile Organic Chemicals
  • 331 - Nitrates
  • 332 - Arsenic
  • 333 - Inorganic Chemicals
  • 320 - Synthetic Organic Chemicals
  • 340 - Radionuclides
  • 350 - Lead and Copper Rule
  • 410 - Public Notice Rule
  • 420 - Consumer Confidence Rule
  • 430 - Miscellaneous
  • 500 - Not Regulated
  • 111 - Revised Total Coliform Rule
show details
Rule Group Code Code that uniquely identifies a rule group.
  • 120 - Surface Water Treatment Rules
  • 130 - Filter Backwash Rule
  • 140 - Groundwater Rule
  • 210 - Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 220 - Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 230 - Total Trihalomethanes
  • 310 - Volatile Organic Chemicals
  • 320 - Synthetic Organic Chemicals
  • 330 - Inorganic Chemicals
  • 340 - Radionuclides
  • 350 - Lead and Copper Rule
  • 400 - Other
  • 500 - Not Regulated
  • 110 - Total Coliform Rules
  • 410 - Public Notice Rule
  • 420 - Consumer Confidence Rule
  • 430 - Miscellaneous
show details
Rule Family Code Code for rule family.
  • 100 - Microbials
  • 200 - Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 300 - Chemicals
  • 400 - Other
  • 500 - Not Regulated
show details

For more clarification please visit the EPA's data dictionary.

Portland Water - Frequently Asked Questions

To contact customer service for the Portland water provider, Portland Water District-Greater, please use the information below.
By Mail: PO BOX 3553
Already have an account?

Existing customers can login to their Portland Water District-Greater account to pay their Portland water bill by clicking here.

Want to create a new account?

If you want to pay your Portland Water District-Greater bill online and haven't made an account yet, you can create an account online. Please click here to create your account to pay your Portland water bill.

Want to pay without an account?

If you don't want to make an account, or can't remember your account, you can make a one-time payment towards your Portland water bill without creating an account using a one time payment portal with your account number and credit or debit card. Click here to make a one time payment.

Starting Your Service

Moving to a new house or apartment in Portland means you will often need to put the water in your name with Portland Water District-Greater. In order to put the water in your name, please click the link to the start service form below. Start service requests for water bills typically take two business days.

Start Service Form

Want to create a new account?

Leaving your house or apartment in Portland means you will likely need to take your name off of the water bill with Portland Water District-Greater. In order to take your name off the water bill, please click the link to the stop service form below. Stop service for water bills requests typically take two business days.

Stop Service Form


Portland tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 7% Very Low
  • Water Pollution 43% Moderate
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 93% Very High
  • Water Quality 57% Moderate

The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Portland, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).

Related FAQS

Portland Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report)

The EPA mandates that towns and cities consistently monitor and test their tap water. They must report their findings in an annual Consumer Confidence Report. Below is the most recent water quality report from Portland's Water. If you would like to see the original version of the report, please click here.



  • The Water Source
  • Ensuring Water Quality:
    Water Purification and
  • Water Quality Analysis
  • Health Notices
  • Steep Falls Supplemental Information

Portland Water District

Published May 2021 1/1/20 – 12/31/20

We have been navigating the pandemic and the many challenges that COVID-19 presented for over a year now. Our top priority has always been, and remains, the safety of our employees and partners so we can continue to serve customers with essential services. I’m proud to say our dedicated staff has gone to great lengths to ensure the reliability and quality of the public water supply were safeguarded throughout this unprecedented event.

We have adapted and made many changes over the past year in how we do business, engage with customers, and deliver services. Some are improvements that we will continue; others will return to pre-pandemic status when it is safe to do so. Rest assured, our commitment to delivering high quality drinking water, 24/7, will not waver.

I am pleased to share with you the 2021 Annual Water Quality Report, which once again shows water quality surpasses all federal and state standards.

Stay safe and healthy,

Carrie Lewis

General Manager

Over the past year, essential services like hydrant inspection and maintenance of critical infrastructure continued, despite the pandemic. Front line employees, like Joe, took extra precautions to ensure essential services were not interrupted. The Portland Water District inspects and maintains 5,123 public hydrants.

“Every situation is different, so communication was key to keeping customers informed and for our safety. The safety precautions take longer but keeping myself safe keeps my coworkers safe, my family safe, and it keeps me working.”

Joe, Utility Specialist

PWSID: ME 0091300 and ME 0091302


The Water Source

Your source of drinking water is Sebago Lake, Maine’s deepest and second largest lake. The quality of water in Sebago Lake is among the highest of any lake in the United States. It is so clean, in fact, that it is exempt from the requirement to be filtered before it is disinfected. This is a designation that only about 50 of the 13,000 surface water suppliers in the country can claim.


  • tastes better than most since filtration typically involves chemical addition which can impart a taste;
  • is less expensive than most since a filtration plant could cost upwards of $150 million; and
  • is safer than most since keeping contaminants out of the water is more effective than trying to remove them from a polluted lake.


Sebago Lake is not just a drinking water supply. It is a treasured public resource that is used by so many for so much. PWD works with many committed partners to keep it clean. In 2020 alone, the District worked cooperatively with more than 100 organizations to protect the lake including state and federal agencies, colleges and universities, lake associations and land trusts.


As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and radioactive material and can pick up substances resulting from human or animal activity. Although Sebago Lake is very clean today, human activities on and around the lake can pose a risk to water quality. In 2003, the Maine Drinking Water Program (DWP) evaluated all public water supplies as part of a state-wide evaluation known as the Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP). The assessment considered things like geology, hydrology, land uses, water testing information, and the extent of land ownership or protection by local ordinance to see how likely each Maine drinking water source is to being contaminated by human activities. Their report on Sebago Lake concluded that the lake is at moderate risk of contamination.

The most significant risks to the long-term protection of Sebago Lake, according to state officials, are boating and ice fishing in Lower Bay and development of properties around the shore. PWD maintains programs that are designed to minimize the risks of these activities. You can get a copy of the SWAP assessment for Sebago Lake by contacting PWD at (207) 761-8310 or by calling the Drinking Water Program at (207) 287-2070.



Because the lake is used by so many for different purposes, our efforts to decrease the risk of contamination involve multiple approaches. Our Sebago Lake protection program involves:

  • water quality monitoring;
  • land and water security;
  • shoreland zone inspections and pollution prevention actions;
  • environmental education and outreach; and
  • land acquisition, conservation, and management.

You can view our recent videos that describe our Sebago Lake protection program here:


Keeping the land surrounding a lake forested is one key to protecting the water quality of the lake since forests naturally clean water. The forests around Sebago Lake act as a natural water filtration system which means higher quality drinking water which is less expensive to treat. To help conserve these forests, PWD works with local land trusts and others – a partnership known as Sebago Clean Waters (www. - to help willing landowners conserve forested land. PWD contributes up to 25% of the cost of conserving these priceless forests and the other partners raise the rest of the money. This effort has helped protect more than 6,000 acres of watershed forest

in the last 20 years. These forests will be naturally treating your water forever and many of them allow free public access.

In 2020, the Sebago Clean Waters partnership received an $8 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture to help conserve these forested lands. This money and other matching funds will help conserve more than 10,000 more acres of forest in the next 5 years.


Water Quality Analysis





Ideal Goal

Highest Level Allowed


Amount Detected in 2020 (unless










otherw ise noted)
















Total coliform bacteria1



0% of

No more than 5% of



Highest % detected: 0.70%

Naturally present in








in the month of March




monthly samples










Monthly Range: 0.0% - 0.70%









Inorganic Chemicals













Barium (mg/L)







Erosion of natural deposits



















Copper (mg/L)2




AL = 1.3



Corrosion of household

90th Percentile



plumbing systems; erosion













of natural deposits


Lead (µg/L)3




AL = 15



Corrosion of household


90th Percentile



plumbing systems


Fluoride (mg/L)







Average: 0.67

Water additive which








promotes strong teeth;






Range: 0.62 - 0.76









erosion of natural deposits














Chloramine (mg/L)







Average: 2.24

A water additive used to











Range: 0.95 - 2.53

control microbes























Turbidity (NTU)







Average: 0.25

Soil runoff











Range: 0.17 - 0.51
























Organic Compounds













Total Trihalomethanes,











TTHM (µg/L)



















By-product of drinking


Duck Pond Variety









<0.5 - 0.8


South Windham Post





0.7 - 1.7

water chlorination









Cumberland Town Hall4









0.9 - 2.2



Mackworth Booster Station








<0.5 - 0.8



Total Haloacetic Acids,











THAA (µg/L)



















By-product of drinking


Duck Pond Variety









5.0 - 10


South Windham Post






5.8 - 13

water chlorination









Cumberland Town Hall4








6.3 - 12



Mackworth Booster Station









4.6 - 9.9



All other regulated drinking water contaminants tested for were not detected.









Footnotes: 1 Annual detection - 1 in 1644 samples; monthly detection - March 1 in 142 samples or 0.70%.



2 In 2020 the maximum value for copper was 0.62 mg/L.









3 In 2020 the maximum value for lead was 13.8 µg/L.









4 1st Qtr DBP samples collected at Tuttle Rd Pump due to COVID concerns














The following is a list of contaminants that were tested for in 2020 and not detected in the drinking water produced at the Sebago Lake Water Treatment Facility.

INORGANIC CONTAMINANTS: Asbestos, antimony, arsenic, beryllium, bromate, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver,

thallium, uranium, nitrate, nitrite, germanium; MICROBIOLOGICAL: E. coli bacteria; VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS: 1,1,1-Trichloroethane,

1,1,2-Trichloroethane, 1,1-Dichloroethylene, 1,2,3-Trichlorporpane, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, 1,2-Dichlorobenzene, 1,2-Dichloroethane, 1,2-Dichloropropane,

1,4-Dichlorobenzene, Benzene, Bromodichloromethane, Bromoform, Carbon tetrachloride, Chlorobenzene, Chloroform, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene,

Dibromochloromethane, Ethylbenzene, Methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE), Methylene chloride, Styrene, Tetrachloroethylene, Toluene, Total THMs, Total xylenes,

trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Trichloroethylene, Vinyl chloride; ALCOHOLS: 1-butanol, 2-methoxyethanol, 2-propen-1-ol; SEMIVOLATILES: butylated

hydroxyanisole, o-toluidine, quinolone;

PESTICIDES: alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane, chlorpyrifos, dimethipin, ethoprop, oxyfluorfen, profenofos,

tebuconazole, permethrin (cis & trans), tribufos; DBP: Bromochloroacetic acid, bromodichloroacetic acid, chlorodibromoacetic acid, dibromoacetic

acid, monobromoacetic acid, tribromoacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, bromide; Synthetic Organic Compounds: 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane,

ethylene dibromide, aroclor 1016 screen, aroclor 1221 screen, aroclor 1232 screen, aroclor 1242 screen, aroclor 1248 screen, aroclor 1254 screen,


aroclor 1260 screen, chlordane, toal PCBs, toxaphene, 2,4,5-TP, 2,4-D, dalapon, dicamba, dinoseb, pentachlorophenol, picloram, alachlor, aldrin, atrazine,


benzo(a)pyrene, butachlor, Di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate, di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor epoxide, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene,


hexachlorocyclopentadiene, lindane, methoxychlor, metolachlor, metribuzin, propachlor, simazine, 3-hydroxycarbofuran, aldicarb sulfone, aldicarb sulfoxide,


aldicarb, carbaryl, carbofuran,methiocarb, methomyl, oxamyl and propoxur; Radionuclides: Radium 226, radium 228 and Ra226 + Ra228 (combined).




Maine Recommended Limit


Likely Source

Chloride (mg/L)



Natural mineral, road salt

Color (PCU)



Natural characteristic

Hardness (mg/L as CaCO3)



Natural mineral

Iron (mg/L)



Natural mineral

Manganese (mg/L)



Natural mineral

Sodium (mg/L)



Natural mineral, road salt

Sulfate (mg/L)



Naturally occurring

Magnesium (mg/L)



Natural mineral

Calcium (mg/L)



Natural mineral

Zinc (mg/L)



Natural mineral, corrosion control additive


MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level. The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water.

MCLG: Maximum Contaminant Level Goal. The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health.

MRDL: Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level. The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water.

MRDLG: Maximum Residual Disinfection Level Goal. The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

LRAA: Locational Running Annual Average. An annual average calculated at each monitoring site.

Variances and Exemptions: State permission not to meet MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.

AL = Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant that, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow. Action Levels for Lead and Copper are measured at the tap of “high risk” homes. Ninety percent of tests must be equal to or below the Action Level.

Turbidity: The measurement of cloudiness or suspended colloidal matter (silt). As you can see from the table, all of the samples taken of our water system were well below 5 NTUs.


ppm = parts per million or milligrams per liter (mg/L). pCi/L = picocuries per liter (a measure of radioactivity). ppb = parts per billion or micrograms per liter (μg/L). NTU=Nephelometric Turbidity Units.


Total Coliform Bacteria: Reported as the highest monthly number of positive samples, for water systems that take less than 40 samples per month.

E. Coli: E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Human pathogens in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a greater health risk for infants, young children, the elderly, and people with severely-compromised immune systems.

Lead/Copper: Action levels (AL) are measured at consumer’s tap. 90% of the tests must be equal to or below the action level.

Fluoride: For those systems that fluoridate, fluoride levels must be maintained between 0.5 to 1.2 ppm. The optimum level is 0.7 ppm.

TTHM/HAA5: Total Trihalomethanes and Haloacetic Acids (TTHM and HAA5) are formed as a by-product of drinking water chlorination. This chemical reaction occurs when chlorine combines with naturally occurring organic matter in water. Compliance is based on locational running annual average.


Ensuring Water Quality



“To remove pathogens from drinking water, PWD uses a two- tiered primary disinfection system. First, the water is infused with ozone gas to achieve a 4-log (99.99%) inactivation of viruses and a single log (90%) Giardia Lamblia inactivation. Second, the water is penetrated with intense ultraviolet light which achieves a 2-log (99%) inactivation of cryptosporidium (protozoans) and an additional 2-log (99.9%) inactivation of Giardia Lamblia, all without the use of any chemicals.

Ozone and UV light are extremely effective, but a secondary disinfectant is needed to provide long-term protection in the piping network. Chloramines are added to ensure the drinking water remains pathogen-free all the way to customers’ taps. Approximately 2,000 samples are collected annually throughout the distribution system and tested for pathogens. PWD has never detected the presence of pathogens in these samples.

Although ozone gas has proven to be very effective at destroying the COVID-19 virus, it’s important to remember that the COVID-19 virus has never been determined to be a waterborne disease.”

Joel, Water Plant Manager


Delivering high quality water to our customers is our first priority. We know your water is safe because we regularly monitor and test it. Our water quality experts performed over 15,000 analyses last year. Many inorganic and synthetic volatile organic chemicals, and disinfection by-products are routinely monitored for and never detected.

Primary disinfection: ozone and ultraviolet light

Secondary disinfection: chloramine

Filtration: None, PWD holds a waiver from filtration due to the purity of Sebago Lake

pH adjustment: sodium hydroxide

Corrosion control: zinc orthophosphate

Dental health additive: fluoride (hydrofluorosilicic acid)

In 2020, your water met or surpassed every state and federal requirement. Water samples are tested by state-certified testing laboratories including two Portland Water District laboratories which are certified by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.



The federal Safe Drinking Water Act directs the state, along with the EPA, to establish and enforce drinking water standards.

The standards set limits on certain substances sometimes found in drinking water. Two types of standards have been established. Primary drinking water standards set achievable levels of drinking water quality to protect your health. Secondary drinking water standards provide guidelines regarding the taste, odor, color, and other aesthetic aspects of your drinking water, which do not present a health risk.


Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain impurities or contaminants. However, these contaminants do not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk and may include:

Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.

Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.

Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses.

Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production and can also come from gas stations, urban runoff, and septic systems.

Radioactive Contaminants, which can be naturally-occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791) or at the following link:

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Portland Water District is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to

2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at the following link:


The Portland Water District Board of Trustees generally meet the second and fourth Monday of every month. Meeting are live-streamed and available On Demand: The public is welcome to attend meetings.


(Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.)

225 Douglass Street | PO Box 3553 | Portland, Maine 04102 | |

Environmental Protection Agency

American Water Works Association





National Centers for Disease Control

Maine Drinking Water Program






Steep Falls, Standish

Supplemental Information

Steep Falls water system is separate from the Greater Portland water system. See below for components of the Water Quality Report that apply to the Steep Falls system only.


The Steep Falls well system in Standish supplies approximately 300 people with drinking water. Treatment includes sodium hypochlorite for disinfection, sodium hydroxide for pH adjustment and corrosion control, aeration for radon removal, and sodium fluoride for dental health.

The State Drinking Water Program waives the requirement to sample for pesticide, herbicide, carbamate and PCB in the Steep Falls water system based on past water quality test results and the absence of certain land use around the wells. Other testing continues at required frequencies






Amount Detected






in 2020 (unless






otherwise noted)















Radon (pCi/L)





Erosion of natural deposits

Uranium (g/L)





Erosion of natural deposits

Organic Compounds






Total Trihalomethanes (g/L)2 2019





By-product of chlorination

Total Haloacetic Acids (µg/L)2 2019





By-product of chlorination

Inorganic Chemicals






Barium (mg/L)





Erosion of natural deposits; discharge of






drilling waste and metal refineries

Copper (mg/L) 1 2018





Corrosion of household plumbing systems

90th Percentile






Chlorine (mg/L)



Average 1.30


A water additive used to control microbes




Range 1.02 - 1.69



Fluoride (mg/L)



Average 0.64


Water additive which promotes strong teeth




Range 0.57 - 0.70


Erosion of natural deposits

Nitrate - Nitrogen (mg/L)





Fertilizer runoff; leaching septic tanks;






erosion of natural deposits

1The maximum value for copper was 0.096 mg/L (2018)

2 Trihalomethane and Haloacetic Acid collected from Steep Falls School (2019)

Please refer to page 5 of the booklet for definitions


Nitrate: Nitrate in drinking water at levels above 10 ppm is a health risk for infants of less than six months of age. High nitrate levels in drinking water can cause blue baby syndrome. Nitrate levels may rise quickly for short periods of time because of rainfall or agricultural activity. If you are caring for an infant you should ask advice from your health provider.

Gross Alpha: Action level over 5 pCi/L requires testing for Radium 226 and 228. Action level over 15 pCi/L requires testing for Uranium. Compliance is based on Gross Alpha results minus Uranium results = Net Gross Alpha.

Radon: The State of Maine adopted a Maximum Exposure Guideline (MEG) for Radon in drinking water at 4000 pCi/L, effective 1/1/07. If Radon exceeds the MEG in water, treatment is recommended. It is also advisable to test indoor air for Radon.


The following is a list of chemical contaminants that were tested for in 2020 and not detected in the drinking water produced at the Steep Falls Water Treatment Facility.

MICROBIOLOGICAL: Total coliform bacteria, E. coli bacteria; Inorganic Contaminants: Iron, antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium,

lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, thallium, nitrite; Volatile Organic Compounds: 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, 1,1,1-trichloroethane,

1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethylene, 1,1-dichloropropylene, 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene,

1,2,3-trichloropropane, 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene,1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane, 1,2-dibromoethane, 1,2-dichlorobenzene, 1,2-dichloroethane, 1,2-dichloropropane, 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, 1,3-dichlorobenzene, 1,3-dichloropropane, 1,4-dichlorobenzene,

2-chlorotoluene, 4-chlorotoluene, 4-isopropyltoluene, benzene, bromobenzene, bromochloromethane, bromdichloromethane, bromoform, bromomethane, carbon disulfide, carbon tetrachloride, chlorobenzene, chloroform, chloromethane, cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, cis-1,3- dichloropropylene, dibromochloromethane, dibromomethane, dichlorodifluoromethane, diethyl ether, diisopropyl ether, ethyl tert-butyl ether, ethylbenzene, hexachlorobutadiene, hexachloroethane, isopropylbenzene, m&p-xylenes, methyl tert-butyl ether, methylene chloride, naphthalene, n-butylbenzene, n-propylbenzene, o-xylene, sec-butylbenzene, styrene, tert-amyl methyl ether, tert-butyl alcohol, tert-butylbenzene, tetrachloroethylene, tetrahydrofuran, toluene, total THMs, total xylenes, trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, trans-1,3-dichloropropylene, trichloroethylene, trichlorofluoromethane, vinyl chloride, ethanol, ethyl acetate and methyl isobutyl ketone


Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.

Sources and Resources

Layer 1
Layer 1
Layer 1
Layer 1