Portland Water District employs new hi-tech safeguards

STANDISH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Portland Water District recently completed installation of a hi-tech safeguard against potential contaminates in its water.

"Each of these reactors is configured up to 52 million gallons of water a day," stated Joel Anderson, chief operator of the Sebago Lake Water Treatment Facility, as he showed of the district's two new UV reactors.

These massive tubes are designed to keep microorganisms out of the district's drinking water.

"How UV works is that it actually penetrates the cell of an organism and disrupts the organism's DNA so that it can no longer replicate," explained Anderson.

The process keeps any microorganisms like cryptosporidium or giardia that pass through from being able to multiply and make people sick.

Anderson says UV is a physical process that is safe, reliable and allows the Portland Water District to meet new federal water quality standards without adding additional chemicals.

Computers control the intensity of the UV exposure to optimize energy efficiency while remaining effective.

"It is largely a light switch," he explained. "They turn it on and a computer does all the work of ramping it up and down."

The system, which is part of a $12 million overhaul of the facility's equipment, has been undergoing tests for the past few months and will now remain running around the clock as an added measure to keep the district's roughly 200,000 customers safe.


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