Water & Sewer
Water & Sewer Department Responsibilities
Poolesville’s Water and Sewer Department consists of a Superintendent and 4 other State licensed operators. Operators maintain 12 wells and treatment equipment, 5 sewage pump stations, 2 storage tanks and over 18 miles of water and sewer lines. Daily operations include water testing and data collection. Many samples are sent to certified laboratories and results forwarded to the Maryland Department of the Environment who also test and monitor the water system.
Operators are also perform emergency response for mainline sewer clogs and water main breaks.
Poolesville uses an average of 500,000 gallons per day of drinking water.
Water System Overview
The following is an overview of the Town water source and water system. A detailed explanation of the Town water source and the Town water system can be found in Appendix A of the Town Master Plan.
Poolesville Water Source
Poolesville relies entirely upon groundwater to supply residents and businesses. Water is withdrawn from twelve wells located throughout Town. State permits allow an annual average daily
withdrawal of 650,000 gallons per day (GPD) and a maximum monthly average of 910,000 GPD. These wells are drilled from 285 to 800 feet deep into the New Oxford Formation Aquifer. Groundwater is derived from rainwater, creek and riverbed percolation. As the water travels downward through the soils, many of the impurities are removed. This results in water that is usually clean enough to drink without any treatment. Our groundwater quality is very good and requires chlorine treatment, as mandated by the Safe Water Drinking Act. In comparison, surface water as found in most municipalities around us, must contend with pollution, algae blooms and wastewater discharges from upstream users.
How does our water system work?
Poolesville’s water system has a loop network topology. All the wells are connected to one central water distribution system. Water from all active wells is used to fill/pressurize the entire system and a given home/business draws water from this central system, as opposed to a given well providing water to a specific area of town.
The system consists of about eighteen miles of ductile iron water pipe and two storage tanks. A 500,000-gallon elevated storage tank is located near the High School and a 1,000,000-gallon standpipe is located in the Woods of Tama.
The operation of our system is based on the water level in the water tanks, which provide the water pressure for your home. When the water level in the tanks drops to a preset elevation, all active wells are automatically turned on. The wells pump water into our distribution pipes and to the water tanks. Once the water tanks are full, the wells shut down. This process takes about 8 to 12 hours depending on the actual use during the filling process. Many residents have wells located near their homes, but for the most part, everyone receives a blended mix of water from each of the wells.
Water Source/System Resiliency
Poolesville maintains multiple levels of redundancy in its water supply:
- There are four distinct watersheds that provide water to the system. If a watershed becomes unusable for some reason, the other watersheds will still be available.
- The number of wells in the system provide more water than is required to supply all town needs at any one time. The Town is committed to maintaining enough wells to ensure that sufficient safe water is available even if several wells are offline for whatever reason.
- If absolutely necessary, some wells can be pumped at a greater capacity for a short duration (several days to weeks).
Water & Sewer FAQ's
1. How do I report a water main break?
Call the emergency number at 240-286-3389 or 240-286-3359
2. How much water are you using?
- Household faucet: 3 to 5 gallons per minute
- Shower: 5 to 10 gallons per minute
- Bath Tub: 50 gallons if full
- Toilet Flushing: 5 to 7 gallons
- Dishwasher: 35 gallons
- Lawn Watering: 35 gallons per ½ acre
- Pin Hole Leak: 170 gallons per day
- Dripping Faucet: 1,000 gallons or more a year
3. How do I turn off my water?
Almost every house has a valve to turn of the water located inside the house where the water service line enters. If you cannot find the in-door valve, or you need to do maintenance on your water service line call Town Hall and one of our staff will come to your home during business hours and turn the valve at your street connection. If we are called to your home after 4:00 PM or on weekends to turn off your water, there will be a call-out fee.
4. Where do I pay my water and sewer bills?
Water and sewer bills can be paid at Town Hall or online.
5. What are the water and sewer rates and are they the same for all uses?
Water and sewer rates can be found here on the Town Web site.
6. Who do I contact if I suspect a water leak or sewer backup?
Call the emergency number at 240-286-3389 or 240-286-3359
7. Who do I contact if I have water quality questions?
If you have water quality questions, please contact Town Hall.
8. How do I open a new water account or transfer an account to a new location?
Water and sewer services are provided by the Town’s own water and sewer system. The municipal water system is serviced by eight wells. The water and sewer bills are issued quarterly. To get your water turned on and setup your account contact Town Hall.
9. Is my water hard?
Poolesville water tends to hard (averaging about 15 grains) due to calcium carbonate.
10. Is my water fluoridated?
No, with 12 different points on entry into the system, control of the chemicals and overall costs make it prohibitive. Parents of young children may want to consult their dentist about the need for fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
11. What is PFAS?
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. Certain PFAS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States as a result of phase outs in which eight major chemical manufacturers agreed to eliminate the use of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals in their products and as emissions from their facilities. PFAS is a carcinogen.
The Federal limit is 70 parts per trillion and many states have not yet set standards for PFAS, but soon will. Of states that have set lower limits than the Federal guidelines, the lowest limit is 13. PFAS has been used to make products like stain and water resistant carpet and textiles, food packaging, firefighting foam, as well as in other industrial processes. Being that Poolesville is in the Agricultural Reserve, where industrial processes have been fairly limited, it is less likely to find PFAS here.
The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) does not regulate PFAS currently or requires testing for it. MDE is in the process of sampling all communities with public systems as a precaution to see if/where PFAS exists in the state. MDE has started with communities that rely on water supply from surface water, where contamination is most likely to occur. Surface water includes streams, rivers, reservoirs and open bodies of water. They will then move to communities like Poolesville that receive their water from aquifers or underground sources. As of Spring of 2020, MDE does not have a timeframe of when they will come to Poolesville. The Town has communicated with MDE regarding PFAS testing. MDE provided reassurance that we do not need to be proactively testing based on what we know today.