DEP issues statement regarding the Portland Sewage spill

July 26, 2018

CONTACT: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842

AUGUSTA, July 26, 2018 - Maine DEP was notified by Portland Water District (PWD) staff this morning that a spill had occurred at the Portland Water District wastewater treatment facility. Based on an updated assessment of the spill, PWD believes the spill contained approximately 1 million gallons of primary treated wastewater that had been chlorinated but with little detention time with the chlorine. The plant was experiencing high flows at the time of the spill due to rain.

It is possible there may be elevated bacteria levels near the spill since the wastewater was only partially chlorinated at the time of the overflow. Water samples were taken this morning by staff from the Health Beaches Program and are currently being analyzed. Results are expected to be available tomorrow. As a precautionary measure, the City of Portland has closed the East End Beach to swimming. The City will make the determination as to when to reopen.

A DEP inspector was onsite today to confer with PWD staff and assess what happened. PWD will submit a full written report on the incident within five days and DEP will determine what actions may be appropriate based on the facts surrounding this event.