December 16, 2022

Trustees approve a $55.5 million water district budget

Portland Water District’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a combined $55.5 million water and wastewater operating budget and a $23.1 million capital budget for 2023 at the Nov. 28 meeting.

The capital budget allocates $8.6 million to water projects, $7 million of that is specifically to replace aging water mains. An additional $11.9 million is targeted at wastewater projects, $8.0 million of that for a new North Windham Wastewater Treatment Facility and $2.1 for upgrades at the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility in Portland.

The budget incorporates a 5.6 percent water rate adjustment, which is estimated to add an additional $1.28 to a typical monthly water bill for a single-family residence. The adjustment will take effect in January 2023.

A public hearing on the rate adjustment occurred earlier in November and a notice was mailed to customers recently.

The water and wastewater operating budget represent roughly a 10.9 percent increase over the 2022 budget, while capital expenditures decreased slightly from 2022.

Much of the operating increase is attributed to higher biosolids disposal costs, related to new requirements from the state of Maine for PFAS management. Labor, chemical costs, and debt service are also significant factors.

The 2023 Comprehensive Budget can be found on PWD’s web site at

Portland Water District maintains a 1,000-mile network of water mains ranging from 60 inches to 2 inches, pump stations, and reservoirs that bring water from Sebago Lake to home and businesses in Maine. Large mains for transmission extend from PWD’s treatment facility near Standish to Westbrook and Portland.

The district operates four wastewater treatment plants, providing treatment and collection services to customers in Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Gorham, Portland, Westbrook, and Windham.

The water district keeps about 25 million gallons of water in storage to help maintain proper pressure and allow for a water reserve in case of an emergency, like a fire or a flood. It serves about 200,000 people across 11 communities and because of that, PWD must ensure that Sebago Lake water quality is of utmost importance.

Sebago Lake itself is more than 300 feet in depth and contains nearly 1 trillion gallons of water which is considered of excellent quality. The source of water in Sebago Lake originates in the Sebago Lake Watershed, which is more than 50 miles long, stretching from Bethel to Standish and includes parts of 24 towns including the towns of Windham and Raymond.

The excellent water quality of the Sebago Lake Watershed is attributed to surrounding forested lands that act as a natural filter for the watershed. <

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