The “Don’t Not Drink” order that was issued in Skowhegan on Thursday has been lifted by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Maine Water Co. officials.
The order was lifted after water quality results confirmed that there were no regulated contaminants detected and had met all state and federal drinking water standards. Residents may now use the water for all purposes — including drinking and food preparation.
Maine Water Co. issued the initial order after a resident reported a strange odor and taste from their tap water to its Skowhegan Division, according to Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long. An estimated 6,000 people were affected by the order.
Maine Water Co. recommended that customers run cold water through the largest tap in the house — such as the bathtub — to flush any stagnant water that may be in their home’s internal plumbing. However, the company will continue to provide water to customers from the alternate supply in the Kennebec River and after fully flushing the system.
The cause of the smell appears to be related to construction work on a dam between Upper and Lower ponds, but the company is continuing to investigate the cause, officials said.
The alternate water source in the Kennebec River will be used to serve the system until the investigation concludes, officials said.
“We recently installed a new flow control structure between the two ponds,” Rick Knowlton, president of Maine Water Co. said in a statement. “Last Monday, the 9th of November, we were working to reduce leakage around the new structure. Our very strong suspicion today is that project work is connected to the odor, but we need confirmation through further laboratory analysis, which is underway. The good news is that on a project like that, we only use materials with NSF 61 certification*, which means they are safe for use in drinking water applications.”