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Portland, Maine Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Portland, Maine

Where does Portland's water come from?  66% of the people in Maine receive water from community systems like Portland Water District, Lewiston / Auburn and Bangor Water District. Despite the fact that 94% of the public water systems in Maine use groundwater (springs and wells) as a source of supply, 48% of the water consumed by the public comes from surface water utilities. Only 79 surface water supplies (including lakes and streams) are used as public drinking water supplies. This represents only 3% of the 2,800 great ponds in Maine.

Below is a list of public water systems in Maine using surface water as a water source. The System ID is the water system's identification number. The system type defines the type of population served by the water system. "Population" is the population served by the water system, not the individual source. For example, Kittery Water District uses 4 different sources of supply, but each is combined to serve the same population.

 Is Portland's water safe to drink? Does Portland put fluoride in the water? 

Source: City of Portland, ME

Contaminants Found in Portland's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

Chromium (hexavalent)

Chromium (hexavalent) is a carcinogen that commonly contaminates American drinking water. Chromium (hexavalent) in drinking water may be due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater.

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Trihalomethanes are cancer-causing contaminants that form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. The total trihalomethanes group includes four chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform. 

Fluoride

Fluoride occurs naturally in surface and groundwater and is also added to drinking water by many water systems. The fluoride that is added to water is not the naturally occurring kind, the main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as “silicofluorides” (i.e., hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate). Silicofluorides are not pharmaceutical-grade fluoride products; they are unprocessed industrial by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry (Gross!). Since these silicofluorides undergo no purification procedures, they can contain elevated levels of arsenic — moreso than any other water treatment chemical. In addition, recent research suggests that the addition of silicofluorides to water is a risk factor for elevated lead exposure, particularly among residents who live in homes with old pipes.

Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants

Health risks of chromium (hexavalent) in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.02 ppb for chromium (hexavalent) was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Health risks of trihalomethanes in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.8 ppb for trihalomethanes was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a draft public health goal, the level of drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Contaminant Levels in Portland, ME Compared to Other Regions

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Portland, ME: 0.0565ppb

 - State: 0.0799 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 25.8 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Portland, ME: 1.08 ppb

Fluoride

 - Health Guideline: None

 - State: 0.358 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Portland, ME: 0.672 ppb

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April Jones

A colorado based hiker, blogger, and water quality expert...

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