Division of Environmental and Community Health

Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention

A Division of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services

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Roadside Springs


Collection point of a roadside spring.

Are they safe?

The Maine CDC Drinking Water Program (DWP) does not recommend drinking water from an unregulated roadside spring.

A natural spring occurs where groundwater flows to the surface of the ground. Springs are typically located in places like a cut in a hillside, the base of a slope, or a low-lying area. In general, water from a spring is more susceptible to microbial (bacteria and viruses) contamination than water from a properly installed and maintained drilled well. Water from a spring is in contact (or near contact) with the ground surface, exposing it to potential contaminants from the surrounding land. Water from a drilled well is typically better protected from contamination by a properly installed and sealed well casing. Also, the water flowing into a well usually follows a deeper and longer flow path where bacteria cannot survive, and the water has more time to be naturally filtered by the aquifer materials.

Please note that even if the water looks clean at a spring collection point, there could be bacteria, chemicals, parasites, and/or other contaminants present. Ingestion of any of these contaminants can cause health issues. For example, drinking water contaminated with E. Coli bacteria may result in illness including severe diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or in some cases a life-threatening condition. Children under five years of age, those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly are particularly susceptible to waterborne illnesses.

A small number of springs are regulated by the DWP per federal mandate based on the number of people who obtain their drinking water from these sources. These springs are tested on a regular basis for contaminants under the US EPA Safe Drinking Water Act, have a Designated Water Operator who is responsible for collecting water samples and maintaining the spring, and are inspected by the DWP at least once every five years.

The following roadside springs are currently regulated by the DWP:

  • Cooper Spring (Paris)
  • Bryant Pond Spring (Woodstock)
  • Worthley Pond Road Spring (Peru)

If a roadside spring is not regulated by the DWP, the state does not maintain records of water quality testing results or other information regarding that spring. You can find violation reports for regulated public water systems and regulated springs through EPA’s online Safe Drinking Water Search for the State of Maine.

For more information on roadside springs, please contact DWP Source Water Protection Coordinator Ashley Hodge:  Email or phone (207) 822-2341.

If you are in need of drinking water, bottled water is usually available for purchase at your local grocery or big box store. In emergency situations, contact your local Emergency Management Director for further assistance.

Updated 5/16/2023