SKOWHEGAN — Additional test results are needed before officials can lift the do-not-drink order.

Maine Water Co. President Rick Knowlton released a statement Monday evening saying the company has completed all distribution system flushing “and continues to operate exclusively from the Kennebec River supply source.”

He said he learned late Monday afternoon that the suite of lab analyses necessary to confirm compliance with drinking water standards was not complete and a final test by an independent laboratory that follows stringent protocols remains in progress.

“Until that test is finished, the ‘do not drink’ order in Skowhegan remains in effect,” Knowlton said.

The final test is expected to be complete by the end of the day tomorrow.

Bottled water distribution will continue at the Skowhegan Community Center on Poulin Drive from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers can also bring their own clean, disinfected receptacles and utilize the self-serve filling station any time.

“We appreciate the continued patience of our customers and remain fully committed to verifying the safety of the drinking water in Skowhegan,” Knowlton said.

The order was issued late Thursday evening, affecting 6,000 residents townwide.

Residents were asked by state officials not to use water for drinking, making ice cubes, food preparation, brushing teeth or any other activity involving consumption of water. Instead, bottled water should be consumed.

The water can be used for nonconsumption purposes, including bathing, laundry and dishwashing. The odor is described as being soap-like.

The problem with the water was detected Thursday when Maine Water Co.’s Skowhegan Division notified Maine CDC’s Drinking Water Program of a complaint from a customer of an unusual taste and odor coming from the faucet.

The ponds used by Maine Water Co. draw water from the Kennebec River. Currently, the ponds are disconnected from the system and only the river is being used to bring water into the treatment plant.

On Friday morning Knowlton said there was no reason to believe that the problem arose from an intentional act.

Knowlton said that Skowhegan’s water system includes two spring-fed ponds at the Water Treatment Facility on Heselton Street. This has been the source of water since the 1930s, he added. Right now, water is being pulled from the Kennebec River to flush millions of gallons of water through to clear out the contamination.


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