Frequently Asked Questions
Review some of our most commonly asked questions.
Billing & Account FAQs
You first need to determine if we provide water service at your location. Check with a customer service specialist to see if Maine water services your neighborhood. Call us at 1.800.287.1643.
To turn on water service or establish it in your name, please contact customer service at 1.800.287.1643. Please have the following information available:
- Service address
- Name(s) to appear on the account - applicant must be the one to contact The Maine Water Company
- Telephone number(s)
- The date you want service to begin (No weekends or holidays)
- Notification if you are buying or renting the property
- Complete billing address
Bills for most residential customers are issued on a quarterly basis (Hartland customers are billed on a monthly cycle). Your first bill will be generated the next time we are in your neighborhood reading water meters.
To close an account, please contact customer service at 1.800.287.1643. Please provide the following information:
- Your account number or service address
- The date service should be taken out of your name
- Available person to schedule appointment and be on site to allow access to the water meter if water service needs to be shut off.
- Your mailing address for the final bill
- A current daytime phone number
Our Field Service representative will be at the service address on the date requested, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. If a new customer has called to request service at this address, the service person will leave the water on and will take a meter reading for billing purposes. A final bill will be mailed within two weeks after the final read.
Most residential customers are billed every three months, while some of our larger business and commercial customers are billed monthly. However, Hartland customers are billed every month regardless of customer class.
Quite often higher bills are the result of increased water usage. Adding water using appliances, i.e. a washer or dishwasher, watering a new lawn, filling a swimming pool or using an irrigation system can increase your water usage significantly.
If you have not had any water usage changes of this nature, then you should check your property for leaks.
It is also possible that the bill covers additional days of use if your meter reading was not exactly 90 days after your last reading. Also if your past bill(s) may have been estimated (see "What is an ‘estimated’ bill?" below) and that your current bill is based on an actual reading that will include water usage above the amount estimated. If you have questions about your bill or water usage, please call our Customer Service department at 1.800.287.1643.
A bill is estimated when we have not been able to get an actual meter reading. There are several reasons why your bill may be estimated:
- If the meter is located inside your home, we may not have access or the equipment that allows us to read the meter from outside doesn’t work
- The meter may be damaged
- Water meters operate like a car odometer. If one dial is between digits when the meter reader is there to take a reading, that reading may not be accepted. This is a temporary situation, and it is unlikely to occur on a regular basis.
- Possible failure of the meter reading equipment or cut touch pad wire
If the meter reader left behind a meter reading card because we were not able to gain access to the meter, please follow the card’s instructions for taking the meter reading yourself. This will allow us to issue you an accurate bill. This information can be mailed, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or phoned in any time at 1.800.287.1643.
It’s also important to make sure the area near your meter pit or the outside meter reading device is clear of debris and vegetation. If you notice the outside reading device is damaged, please call us at 1.800.287.1643 to schedule a repair.
Pay online at Invoice Cloud
- Pay your Bill online with a debit or credit card (MasterCard or Visa) or checking account. You can also enroll in E-Billing, set-up automatic payments of your water bill and view account information.
Pay by personal check by using the envelope provided by MWC on your bill.
- Please remember to write your account number on the check and include your bill payment stub to ensure your payment is applied to the correct account.
The Maine Water Company
P.O. Box 70700
Philadelphia, PA 19176-0700
Pay by personal check, cash or money order at any of our payment agencies across the state.
By phone 24/7 with credit or debit card, checking account, Apple Pay®, Google Pay®, Venmo® and PayPal®
- Call 1.855.718.1472
It all depends on your heating system and how long you will be away. We recommend you contact your plumber to see if your home’s interior pipes and fixtures need to be winterized. This is especially important if you have a hot-water heating system.
If your heat will be shut off for an extended period of time and the plumber drains and winterizes the system, please call us and schedule to have your water service shut off at the street and remove the water meter. There is a turn on fee of $60 associated with this work. However, it may be needed to prevent the pipe that brings water into your home from freezing.
If you decide to leave the heat on while you’re away, it’s best to set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees and have someone check to make sure your heating system is operating properly.
If you have any questions, please call one of our Customer Service representatives at 1.800.287.1643.
Click here and follow the instructions to sign in. You will need to have your account number and service address to access.
There are 748 gallons in a hundred cubic feet. If you measure units on your meter you used 2 HCF which equates to 1,496 gallons.
Water Quality FAQs
Ice cubes made from tap water are seldom perfectly clear, for a perfectly good reason: The water contains dissolved calcium and other naturally occurring minerals. When the water is frozen, the minerals turn into harmless solid white particles that make the water appear cloudy.
Reddish or rusty water is a common result of older pipes in your home. When water stands in the pipes for long periods of time (including overnight), fine particles of rust may accumulate. Another possible cause may be a rusting hot water heater. The problem can easily be solved by letting the water run for a few minutes to clear out the pipes. Rusty water is not a health hazard, but you may want to avoid doing laundry with the rusty water to avoid staining.
We add as little chlorine as possible to our water while still maintaining an adequate level for disinfection. We work to maintain a chlorine level in our distribution system of one part per million. However, we understand that some customers object to the taste and smell of chlorine even in small amounts. Fortunately, the taste and smell of chlorine can easily be removed by refrigerating tap water in a sealed container, preferably glass. Some plastic bottles can add their own taste to the water. Having a bottle of ice water in the fridge also helps conserve water because you don’t have to let the tap run for the water to get cold.
Chlorine reacts with organic material naturally present in water supplies and creates new compounds known as disinfection by-products “DBPs”. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently regulates a group of DBPs known as Trihalomethanes. Animal research using high concentration of DBPs suggests a link to a high risk of certain types of cancer. The EPA has not been able to link exposure to DBPs at low concentration levels with the health risks associated with concentration level exposure.
The water we provide to you has very low concentrations of DBPs and does not represent a significant risk of exposure to these compounds. Research on the relationship between DBPs and cancer and other health risks is ongoing. However, the disease prevention benefits far outweigh the risks associated with chlorinated drinking water.
"Rotten egg" smells may be caused by a problem in your hot water heater. Magnesium anodes used in hot water tanks to prevent corrosion sometimes generate bad smelling gasses. The odor usually occurs early in the morning and only with your hot water. This smelly problem may be easily fixed by replacing the magnesium anode with one made from an aluminum alloy. Before replacing the anode, be sure the odor is coming from the hot water and not from the sink drain or garbage disposal. If you have any questions about repairs, contact a plumbing professional.
During the summer, when the air is much more humid and hot, we typically receive an uptick in calls with questions about pink, black and red staining in toilet bowls.
There is a common misconception that these stains, slimes, rings, or residues are caused by the water from your distribution system. The source is not the water but is airborne spores of naturally occurring, common, household molds and mildews that thrive in moist, humid, or damp environments. The airborne spores feed on human products that contain phosphates and fats such as soaps, gels, shampoo, cosmetics, toothpastes, personal care products, and human waste products.
Controlling ventilation, moisture, dampness and humidity, coupled with frequent and routine cleaning (including drains), will help control the growth and spread of these airborne molds and mildews.
Our surface and ground water sources from lakes, rivers and wells, are excellent sources of drinking water. With over 6000 lake and ponds, Maine has some of the best water sources in the country. We use various treatment methods and monitor treatment to ensure we deliver safe drinking water to your tap every day.
The disinfection of public water supplies is one of the most important functions of a public water system operation. Meeting disinfection requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act regulations has all but eliminated typhoid, cholera, and dysentery in our country. Today’s regulations require that we treat and test, not only for elements that cause water-borne diseases, but also for a host of other potential hazards.
Disinfection of drinking water is one of the major public health advances in the twentieth century. In the early 1900s, typhoid and cholera were common throughout American cities; disinfection was a large factor in reducing these epidemics. Chlorine was the preferred disinfectant back then and continues to be the most widely used substance for water disinfection in the United States.
Safe drinking water has played a key role increasing human life expectancy from about 45 years in the early 1900s to about 76 years at present. Since disinfection of public water supplies began, there has been dramatic decline in infant mortality rates and the virtual elimination of cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery and gastroenteritis, as well as many other waterborne diseases which once killed tens of thousands of Americans.
When water looks milky or cloudy when pouring from the faucet, it is likely due to air being released from the water. This mostly happens in the winter and is usually noticed more in the hot water.
Water from lake and river sources holds more oxygen in winter months because the water is cold and air is more soluble in cold water. Similar to soda, when the water is warmed up it will release the air more readily. As water travels from the treatment plant where it is fresh, cold and under pressure from the pumps sending it to the system of pipes throughout the community, it holds most of the air trapped in the water.
Upon entering your home it warms up (especially if it goes to the hot water system). When drawing the water from the faucet, the pressure is reduced and air is released, similar to opening a bottle of soda. This will look like milky water and if you let it set for a few minutes, the air rises to the top and oxygen is released into the atmosphere.
There is no reason for concern and you can use your water as you normally would.
Air can get trapped in your home plumbing and will find its way to the highest points in the plumbing as air rises. Starting with the cold water, from the lowest level of your building and working up to the top floors, flush the sink faucets, showers, and utility sinks. It is helpful to remove the aerators on the ends of the sink faucets when flushing, if present. It is also helpful to run the water as hard as possible without causing the sink to overflow. Trapped air can take a few days to work its way out but regular use should help.
Tap water must be treated first to remove disinfectants for use in aquariums. Consult your local pet store for further information.
Maine Water has an extensive program of water quality protection that includes land ownership, watershed inspections, and source water quality monitoring. In addition, regular water quality testing is done in all of our water systems and continues to show that the water delivered to our customers is in compliance with state and federal drinking water standards and is safe to drink. Our water quality testing data is regularly reviewed for potential changes or trends and any customer water quality complaint is escalated to professionals in our water quality team.
Water quality reports that detail information on the results of water quality testing done in your town, include information about the company’s water systems along with source-protection measures, are made available annually to all of our customers here.
In addition to limiting our supplies to quality sources with source protection measures, we also have a comprehensive approach to control lead in our water systems. This approach includes sampling and chemical addition in our treatment and distribution systems for corrosion control to maintain water quality and protect our customers from the potential for lead to enter their drinking water. We have a program in place, as required under Federal law, to minimize the potential for lead to enter your drinking water.
Lead typically enters drinking water as a result of corrosion, or wearing away, of materials in household plumbing containing lead. These materials include lead-based solder that in the past had been used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome-plated brass faucets, and in some cases, the service line that connects your house to the water main, if the pipe is made of lead.
In 1986, Congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater that 0.2% lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes and other plumbing materials to 8.0%, however the internal plumbing in older homes may still contain lead piping. In homes where there is still lead in internal plumbing and fixtures, under certain pH conditions, lead may dissolve into the drinking water after it has sat in the internal plumbing for some time. As such, sampling under our lead and copper program intentionally focuses on homes with older plumbing and samples are taken with the first water drawn from the tap in the morning.
We monitor for lead from customer’s homes to confirm that the chemical treatment processes remain effective. In instances where the lead in a customer’s home is above the action level set by Federal Standards (15 part per billion), we notify the customer right away. If 10% or more of the samples collected from a public water system are above the Federal Standards we notify all customers within the service area.
Nearly everyone has low levels of PFOS and PFOA in their blood, likely from their widespread use in consumer products and food packaging.
PFAS can remain in the human body for a long time, and can build up over time. Because of this, even low levels in drinking water can be a health risk if exposure is long term, but having PFAS exposure or PFAS in your body does not mean you will necessarily have health problems now or in the future.
The advisory guidelines by the EPA and DPH are set based on daily exposure to the most vulnerable consumers. If you are a sensitive consumer, including pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants, you may choose to minimize your exposure by not drinking water that has found PFAS in water quality testing. Please be advised, however, that PFAS have been found in some bottled water. Ensure that your bottled water supply is PFAS-free or that you’re utilizing additional at home water treatment measures, as outlined below.
If you are concerned about your exposure, you may want to use tap water with non-detect PFAS levels for drinking, cooking, and making infant formula. Even though the risk is very low, you may also want to use water with non-detect PFAS levels for brushing your teeth, washing produce, and cleaning items like dentures or pacifiers. Bottled water has also been found to contain PFAS; please check with the bottled water brand and/or your physician.
It is okay to bathe and shower in water that contains PFAS, as these compounds are not well absorbed through the skin. Boiling water does not lower PFAS levels and is not recommended as it may slightly increase the concentration of PFAS in the water.
You can also use an at home water treatment system that is certified to remove PFAS by an independent testing group such as National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Water Quality Association or the CSA group.
If you have specific health concerns related to PFAS exposure, consult your doctor or health professional.
As EPA, DEP, and the Maine legislature develop further testing protocols, assessment guidelines, and standards, Maine Water will continue to meet any requirements for monitoring and testing of our systems.
Beginning in late 2019, we voluntarily and proactively began testing for PFAS in our drinking water sources using a tiered approach risk assessment. Results associated with this testing can be found at: https://www.mainewater.com/water-quality