PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A boil water order affecting about 4-thousand homes and businesses on the Portland Peninsula has been lifted.
The order was put into effect after a water main burst on Somerset Street yesterday morning. Officials at the Portland Water District say samples tested at their lab show the water is safe to drink.
The order to boil water yesterday was a pre-cautionary measure, because when there is a water main break of this size sediment can get into the system creating the potential for contamination. But tests on the water throughout the day showed there were no problems with it.
For most people the boil order was just a headache, but for others it created different problems. People with cars parked in the area near the break found water up to their windows. Restaurants and coffee shops were affected. Some made due without water, others decided to shut down. The water district will conduct an investigation to determine what caused the break.
This particular pipe was more than 100-years old. Water district officials say their aging infrastructure is a big problem. There are 1-thousand miles of pipe in the water district's 11 communities and a lot of them are old.
"Just a real rough estimate, we estimate to replace all water mains over 60-years old would be over 600-million dollars. So it's a significant investment and it's a problem across the United States", said Portland Water District Spokesperson Michelle Clements.
If the water district did take on a project like that customers would experience sticker shock. Their bills would increase significantly. Instead district officials say they are chipping away at replacing the pipes gradually spending about 3-million dollars a year. They do expect to increase that to 5-million dollars in the next few years.