Bangor Water

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Article Title: Our History

Article Content

The Bangor Water District was created in 1957, when the water source was changed from the Penobscot River to Floods Pond in Otis.  An independent municipal district – separate from the City of Bangor and regulated by the Maine Public Utilities Commission – was established to oversee supply of water for domestic and fire-fighting purposes.

Today, Bangor Water has 10,700 metered accounts across seven communities (Bangor, Eddington, Hampden, Hermon, Orrington, small parts of Clifton and Veazie), and provides water to the Hampden Water District for distribution. Our facilities at Floods Pond pump and treat an average of 4 ½ million gallons of water each day.

Among our largest users are Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company in Orrington.

Bangor Water District History

Public water service for Bangor began in 1875 with the installation of 76,000 feet of lines to draw water from the Penobscot River. A filter plant, completed in 1910, provided rudimentary treatment, and later chlorination facilities were installed for disinfection. By the 1940’s, Penobscot River water was classified as “suitable for the transportation of sewage and industrial wastes.” Water officials recognized a cleaner reliable source was important for health and safety, as well as continued business development.

Efforts to move away from the Penobscot River as a supply began in the 1940’s. A half-dozen ponds, including Cold Stream, Schoodic, and Green lakes were considered and tested.

Editorials and public forums argued both for and against the cost of the project, the installation of water meters, the creation of a District separate from the City of Bangor, and the increasing need for chemicals to make the river water palatable.

More than one referendum was held on various plans before the final proposal utilizing Floods Pond in Otis and creating the Bangor Water District was approved by voters in 1957. Water began flowing in 1959, and no longer (as reported in the Saturday Evening Post in 1951) did the water have “a noticeable flavor of rotten sawdust and moose tracks!”

Over the years, we have added increasingly sophisticated equipment at Floods Pond and at State Street to meet new treatment requirements, and our original service area has expanded.

We have 200 miles of pipe (up to 30 inches in diameter), more than 11,000 direct service connections for domestic and fire protection accounts, and almost 1,400 fire hydrants.  We maintain three pump stations and six standpipes, including Thomas Hill Standpipe, which is on the Register of Historic Places and is a State of Maine Civil Engineering Landmark.

Our mission remains unchanged: To protect public health by providing high quality water for domestic and fire protection purposes while emphasizing cost control, innovation, and customer service.