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Common Portland Water Contaminants

Purify Your Water; Call FONTUS Water Treatment

While our water supply is generally believed to be “clean,” almost every home struggles with some sort of contaminant problem. Many of these contaminants aren’t actually bad for you in small quantities, but they can have an impact on your home’s condition and your overall health with years of repeated exposure. If you’re tired of worrying about what’s in your water or if you depend on a private well and need some additional purification, FONTUS Water Treatment offers premium water filtration and purification systems that are customized to the property of every client.

Find out if you struggle with any of these common water contaminants and start the process of installing a water purification system by calling FONTUS Water Treatment at (207) 865-8165 today.

Five Substances Commonly Found in Portland Water

Chlorine & Fluoride

Chlorine is a common substance found in water all across the country. In fact, some municipalities actually add small amounts of chlorine to their water supplies to kill harmful, organisms like bacteria and viruses that cause diseases like cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. While small amounts are nontoxic to humans, constant exposure to larger quantities of chlorine found in both public and well drinking water can have some long-term impacts on your health. 

Much like chlorine, fluoride is another commonly-found inclusion in our water that isn’t necessarily harmful. In fact, the EPA actually recommends that our drinking water contains tiny amounts of fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. However, long-term exposure to excessive levels of fluoride can cause joint stiffness, weak bones, or even fractures in older people. While most natural drinking water contains fluoride levels well below the EPA’s recommendations, some homes may see elevated fluoride levels, especially those on private wells.

Calcium, Manganese & Iron 

Calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron are some of the most common minerals at fault for the widespread problem of “hard water.” Hard water is water that causes that chalky white buildup on your faucets that’s extremely difficult to clean. Hard water is also responsible for brittle or scratchy-feeling hair, dry skin, scratchy-feeling laundry, and even strange tastes in your water. While calcium in water isn’t necessarily bad for you (and actually does help with skeletal health in elderly adults, especially menopausal women), excessive mineral content can cause a lot of problems for your plumbing system.


Another common problem with private wells, arsenic is a commonly found substance homes and businesses throughout southern Maine. In fact, the Portland area is known for having some of the highest arsenic concentrations in the entire state. If your home depends on a well in this region, we strongly recommend having your water tested for arsenic levels as soon as possible and having it repeatedly tested every year to ensure levels are stable and being properly treated.

Arsenic is yet another naturally-occurring element has been linked to a laundry list of health concerns in both children and adults, including both cancerous and non-cancerous health issues. Lung problems, skin problems, liver and kidney problems, and immune system suppression are all possible with repeated exposure to arsenic.

Perfluoroalkyls, PFAS, PFOA, PFOS

Many of the products we use in our homes and businesses today were only made possible through chemical engineering. These products are often littered with man-made chemicals that are great for their purpose, but are persistent in the environment and notorious for polluting when improperly disposed of or treated. Perfluoroalkyls, PFAS, PFOA, and PFOS are a shorthand way of referring to more than 6,000 of these chemical substances that feature chains of carbon and fluorine.

PFAS can remain in the environment for years and excessive exposure has been known to cause cancer as well as endocrine disruption in humans.

Radon & Uranium

Radon and uranium are common problems found in private wells throughout the state of Maine and the entire Northeast region of the country. Radon is a toxic gas that percolates through the ground and into the groundwater table as well as even percolating upward into the air of homes and businesses throughout the region. While the air in most homes is well below recommended upper limits, radon problems are not all that uncommon in water supplies. Unlike other known contaminants, radon is a naturally-occurring gas found underground. Uranium is a naturally-occurring radioactive element found in the ground in many places throughout the country. 

Both Uranium and radon have no noticeable taste, color, or consistency, so the only way to know if you have this issue is to have your water tested. Fixing the problem also doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult—running your water through a carbon-based absorption tank will dramatically reduce radon gas levels. Likewise, a “bubbling” system, also known as a pressurized aeration purifier, can handle virtually any level of radon found in your well water.

Hexavalent Chromium

Not to be confused with Trivalent chromium, which is an important part of our diet, hexavalent chromium is a substance that typically enters our water supply due to industrial waste leakage, poor storage, or poor disposal practices. In fact, the movie Erin Brockovich tells the true story of town of Hinkley, California, whose drinking water had been contaminated by hexavalent chromium thanks to these poor practices. The EPA has a strict guideline as to how much of this substance is considered “safe” in drinking water, but some areas around the city of Portland have been found to exceed this level. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen, meaning it has been shown to cause cancer.

Remove impurities and improve water quality by simply reaching out! Contact FONTUS Water Treatment today.

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