Since the summer of 1959, Floods Pond in Otis has provided a consistent supply of water so clean and clear that it requires minimal treatment. We are exempt from filtering the water; we treat it with ozone and ultraviolet light disinfection systems, and then add chloramines to provide long-term protection as the water flows into the distribution system.
Floods Pond has a low risk of contamination, based on the State’s Source Water Assessment Program. That’s because we own or have landowner agreements for 99 percent of the watershed land (more than 4500 of the 4600 acres). The protected nature of the watershed allows for minimal contamination and therefore reduced treatment (and costs) required for drinking water.
We’ve also restricted activities that degrade water quality, such as: boating, fishing, and swimming, hiking, or hunting in posted areas within the watershed, as well as access by motor vehicles (other than on the Floods Pond Road).
These restrictions provide a number of benefits: security for our facilities, no bodily contact with drinking water, and reduced risk of erosion or gasoline spills caused by vehicular traffic such as ATV’s.
Lack of development other than Bangor Water facilities eliminates the potential for industrial toxins, runoff from pesticides and fertilizers, and domestic livestock as carriers for contamination.
We have a formal management plan for the watershed forest. Harvesting – when conducted – is aimed at reducing the risk of forest fires, complementing water quality by controlling erosion, and maintaining overall forest health.
For more than 25 years, we’ve been exempt from filtering our water as part of the treatment process. There are fewer than 60 unfiltered systems (out of 12,500 in the United States), and eight–including Floods Pond–are in Maine. Being unfiltered has saved ratepayers significantly over the years. The estimated cost for a filtration plant 25 years ago was $30,000,000, and annual operating costs would have required additional monies.
We undergo an annual watershed survey by the State of Maine to ensure that we continue to meet all criteria for an unfiltered public water system.