Bangor Water District

History of the Bangor Water District

     In 1875, Bangor officials contracted with the Holly Co. for the installation of 76,951 feet of water mains to be used for domestic, industrial and fire protection utilizing water from the Penobscot River.  Many of these lines are still in service today.

    The City had experienced typhoid epidemics nearly every year in the late part of the 1800's and early part of this century. In 1908, the City government appointed a citizen committee to ascertain the cause of the problem, and during the investigation it was noted that among the local schools, only those using "City" water had an incident of the disease. Other signs also indicated that the water supply was the principal carrier. To correct this situation, a filter plant was begun in 1904 and completed in 1910. This plant utilized coagulation, sedimentation, and filtration, and was capable of handling 8,000,000 gallons of water per day. Later, chlorination facilities were installed to provide disinfection. Orderly growth of the system continued until 1957 when it was agreed--after long debate--that Bangor must switch its water supply from the river (heavily polluted by upstream dumping of sewage and mill waste) to some other source if the quality or water provided to the citizens was to be improved.

    An act of the Maine Legislature in 1957 created the Bangor Water District, which was approved in a City referendum. After formation of a Board of Trustees, the title to the City water system was handed to the new water district. In essence, the act authorized the District to control a number of ponds to supply water to Bangor and surrounding towns. Floods Pond in Otis was chosen following careful testing over a number of years by the District. A total of $4,000,000 in Series "A" bonds financed construction of a new pump station at Floods Pond and a transmission line from the pond to Bangor.

    With the new system in operation in 1959, the water-powered Deane Pump located in the old water works building on the Penobscot River gave way to electric turbine pumps at Johnston Pump Station at Floods Pond. Subsequently the old filter plant building on State Street was converted to work shops and storage space, and a new office building was constructed. The "new" water from Floods Pond was of such high quality that it did not require extensive treatment to place it in a ready state for consumption.

    Through the past three decades, increasingly sophisticated equipment has been added to District facilities, the Thomas Hill Standpipe has become a National Historic landmark, and customers have been changed from "flat rate" to "metered" service to provide more equitable distribution of charges and to encourage conservation.

    In 1995, a new treatment plant was constructed on the access road to Floods Pond in response to changing federal regulations. The plant utilizes ozone--instead of chlorine--as the primary disinfectant, and chloramines (a combination of chlorine and ammonia) as a secondary disinfectant.

   In 2002, at the invitation of the Town of Orrington, BWD expanded its existing service area.  The Town completed a 3500-foot extension of BWD’s line serving customers along Rt. 15, funded by grant monies obtained by the municipality.  The new 12-inch pipe will provide water service to 70 or more potential customers, and interconnects with City of Brewer’s water distribution system for emergency use.

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Last modified: September 30, 2016