Drinking Water Orders and Safety Alerts
Pursuant to 22 M.R.S.A., Section 2614, a drinking water order may be issued to a public water system when, in the judgment of the Drinking Water Program, a threat to the public may exist from the presence of biological, chemical, or radiological contamination in a public water system. Depending on the threat, one of three types of Drinking Water Orders may be issued: Boil Water, Do Not Drink, and Do Not Use. When a drinking water order is issued, the water system must notify their customers immediately.
A Drinking Water Order Policy is in place to help the DWP and public water systems make important decisions on when a drinking water order should be issue and when it can be removed. A listing of all public water systems that currently have a drinking water order issued can be found on the Drinking Water Safety Alerts page of this website.
- Language Translations for Removing a Drinking Water Order (PDF)
- Language Translations for Removing a Drinking Water Order (DOCX)
Boil Water Orders
In general, a Boil Water Order is issued if an event occurs which could introduce pathogenic or biological contaminants to the water system (such as failure of chlorination/disinfection equipment or increase in turbidity), or if E. coli is detected in any sample. An order may be issued by the DWP, or voluntarily imposed by the water system along with a notification to the DWP. Boil Water Orders require that water be heated to a rolling boil for one minute.
- Boil Water Order Posting Template (English) (PDF)
- Coliform bacteria and Boil Water Orders FAQ
- Guidance for eating establishments during and after a Boil Water Order (PDF)
- Boil Water Order Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Protecting Public Health During Chlorination Disinfection System Failures (PDF)
- Protecting Public Health During UV Disinfection System Failures (PDF)
- Responding to Loss of Pressure Events (Large Water Systems) (PDF)
- Responding to Loss of Pressure Events (Small Water Systems) (PDF)
Do Not Drink Orders
Do Not Drink orders are issued when there is concern about contamination in a water supply from biological, chemical, or radiological contaminants in exceedance of their Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) that makes the water unsafe for consumption. This includes making ice cubes, food preparation, brushing teeth or any other activity involving consumption of water. The water can be used for other purposes such as bathing and laundry.
- Do Not Drink Order Posting Template (English) (PDF)
Do Not Use Orders
Do Not Use orders are issued to protect individuals consuming water from biological, chemical, or radiological contaminants that may cause immediate personal harm or injury due to respiratory, topical, or internal exposure. The water should not be used for any purpose. This includes drinking, making ice cubes, washing foods, showering, washing hands, brushing teeth, laundry, dish washing or in any other activity involving consumption or use of water.
- Do Not Use Order Posting Template (English) (PDF)