COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Q. What is Maine Water doing about the Coronavirus/COVID-19?
Q: Is COVID-19 affecting Maine Water’s ability to provide clean, safe drinking water?
Q: Can I get COVID-19 from tap water?
Q: Do I need to boil my drinking water?
Q: How does COVID-19 (coronavirus) spread?
Q: What if I or someone in my household has COVID-19, cold or flu-like symptoms and I have a scheduled field service appointment?
Q: What if I have a question on my account or want to make a payment?
Q: What should I do if I have a financial hardship and can’t pay my water bill?
Q: Where can I get more information on Coronavirus/COVID-19?
Maine Water has taken precautionary steps to protect the health of our employees.
Maine Water is carefully monitoring the state and national advisories regarding COVID-19. Maine Water has taken precautionary steps to protect the health of our customers and employees:
- In alignment with Governor Mills’s recommendation to exercise social distancing, Maine Water employees capable of telecommuting will began working remotely on March 16. There are some exceptions such as the company’s service delivery personnel who monitor water supplies, operate water treatment and pumping facilities, maintain the water distribution systems and make essential customer field visits.
- Offices are closed to visitors. Maine Water is still readily available to meet customer needs: phone lines are open for 24-hour emergency service at 1-800-287-1643. Bill payments can be made by mail, phone, online at mainewater.com or at local payment agencies such as Bangor Savings Bank.
- In-home service appointments will be limited to only those that are essential. If our people need to enter a customer’s home, they will ask a few simple questions about potential exposure to the coronavirus for their safety and other customers.
- Non-essential customer appointments, such as periodic meter changes, will be rescheduled to a later date.
- Some of our employees must continue to work in the field to perform their duties to maintain water service and water quality, such as water main flushing, water quality testing and treatment and water system operation. We are asking employees who have direct customer contact to practice social distancing, such as avoiding handshakes and wearing disposable nitrile gloves while in customers' homes. We also ask that you be mindful of social distancing (keeping at least 6 feet away) if you see our people in the field or in your home.
Only emergency construction activities, such as repairs to water mains or other critical infrastructure necessary to maintain water service and water quality, are being performed by our people. Non-essential construction, such as water main replacement projects, are being suspended until further notice to protect our employees and their “mission-critical” roles in providing water service. Further, non-emergency construction work can result in planned and unplanned service interruptions at a time when we need to maintain continued water service for hand-washing, good hygiene and sanitation.
We continue to provide clean, safe drinking water.
We have well established emergency contingency and business continuity plans that anticipate illness outbreaks and other situations that could affect our operations. As result of this prudent planning, the vast majority of workforce is able to work remotely, minimizing their risk of catching COVID-19, while being able to perform their normal duties.
Maine Water has suspended all non-emergency construction activity until further notice. This includes water main replacement projects and other planned capital improvements. Our personnel will continue to perform essential construction activity, such as the repair of water main breaks that are needed to continue to provide a reliable supply of safe drinking water to customers and the community.
By limiting the interaction of our employees with the community for work that can be postponed, we are further reducing the risk that these “mission-critical” employees will impacted by COVID-19, whether it be through contact with an infected person or development of symptoms – either of which would require a self-quarantine.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the, “presence of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence the risk to water supplies is low.”1 Additionally, according to the CDC, COVID-19 is mainly thought to spread between people who are in close contact with one another. Further, EPA’s drinking water regulations require treatment at public water systems to remove or kill pathogens, including viruses.
All surface water sources used by Maine Water use filtration and a disinfectant to treat the water before it is delivered to customers. Disinfection is provided to inactivate a minimum of 99.99% of all viruses. Water from groundwater sources, or wells, is filtered naturally as it passes through the soil. Chlorination of well supplies provides additional protection against viruses and other disease causing microorganisms.
No. Boiling your water is not required as a precaution against COVID-19. The United States EPA recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but according to the CDC “this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
We ask that you consider rescheduling the appointment for a later date. We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers and keeping our employees out situations where the virus may be present will help to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
If you or someone in your household has COVID-19, or is suspected of having COVID-19 based on an exposure or recent travel, please call and reschedule the appointment for a later date after the quarantine period has ended.
The following options are always available for most water account needs:
- Phone: (800) 287-1643 for questions on your account or 24-hour emergency service.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online Bill Pay: https://mainewaterbillpay.osgview.com/
- In-Person Bill Pay at Bangor Savings Bank locations.
We are ready to work with any customers who may be facing financial hardships to set up deferred payment arrangements. Please call us at 1-800-287-1643.
- We have halted shutoff for nonpayment and restored service to those that were previously shutoff for nonpayment so that they will have tap water for hand-washing and hygiene.
- Disconnection calls have been suspended. If you receive a call demanding payment over the phone or your water service will be shutoff, it is a scam and should be reported to us and local authorities.
There are several helpful links on the Centers for Disease Control website: www.cdc.gov