Utility continues to replace old infrastructure, find and fix leaks
(Saco, Maine) Maine Water announced today that it pumped and treated 100 million fewer gallons of water in 2016 than it did the previous year, while still delivering the same amount of water to its customers.
Maine Water’s ongoing and aggressive review of the company’s 12 water systems in Maine resulted in this water savings. The company is making a significant financial investment to replace aging infrastructure, and to hunt down and repair any leaks in those water systems. Judy Wallingford, president of Maine Water, said most water distribution systems across Maine and New England were first installed in the late 1800s. She said it is inevitable that all water utilities in Maine will face broken pipes, possibly at an increasing rate as time goes by, due to the severely advanced age of these distribution systems.
“Anybody who has driven over a big frost heave in March knows the incredible beating our dramatic weather inflicts on the ground itself, and anything buried in it,” Wallingford said. “With our very experienced employees and some impressive technology, we’ve been scouring five hundred and fifty miles of pipes in Maine. Saving that much water in one year is an outstanding result, and we plan to continue the hunt each year.”
According to Maine Water, a large water main break is usually easily identified and repaired, but smaller leaks are more numerous, and not as easily detected. That allows water to seep into the ground unnoticed, and that’s why the company is proactively searching for the smaller leaks. Maine Water also asks that if anyone notices water running down a street or pooling in their yard, that might signal a water main break, which should be reported to their local water utility. Maine Water customers should call 1-800-287-1643.
Wallingford said Maine Water is boosting its statewide capital budget for 2017 to $8.7 million, an increase of more than $1 million from 2016.
“Our natural water resources are precious, and our responsibility is to protect them, to use them prudently, and to ensure their sustainability. By fixing breaks and leaks, we not only use less water, we also use less power and fewer chemicals. That’s an added benefit for the environment and for our customers’ rates,” Wallingford said.