Water Quality Information Page

This page is dedicated to providing communities with detailed information on the many sources of information around water quality in Maine. It should be noted, this is a guide that will be updated on a yearly basis with new contact information.

Shoreline Survey Information – Department of Marine Resources (DMR)

Shoreline Survey information is recorded survey information generated every few years by the Department of Marine Resources. There should be detailed notes on areas surrounding tidal areas and clam flats. These notes contain information about any potential problems, wildlife in the area, along with general descriptions. Specific problem areas that are seen during surveys are generally written up in problems forms and submitted by the DMR to the town office. This information is a great starting point for communities to get a better lay of the land on understanding issues in the area.

P90 Scores – Department of Marine Resources (DMR)

P90 scores are scores generated from water tests taken by the Department of Marine Resources. Each water sample is taken and tested for bacteria (fecal coliform). Based on the amount of bacteria in the sample, the sample is given a score. These scores are averaged over a multi-year period to generate closure areas (prohibited, conditional, open, and restricted). High scores mean there are large amounts of bacteria in the water at the time of sampling. Looking at these scores should give a community an idea about hot spots, or specific testing sites that have high scores. These areas are indicative of an issue, either a point source that most likely has been noted on a shoreline survey (see above) or a non-point source. For more information, please see the What is Pollution page.

Tax Maps – Department of Environmental Protection

These maps, along with others, can highlight where private land may influence coastal areas. This, along with an understanding of shoreline surveys and P90 scores can help shape studies to try and find and fix pollution.

Problem Forms – Town Managers’ Office

These are forms submitted to the town by the Department of Marine Resources to a town, outlining issues they have seen on shoreline surveys that require remediation. This remediation is a responsibility of the town, community, or shellfish committee to fix. After remediation has been performed, the DMR is able to test quickly and thoroughly for improvements to water quality scores. For more details, please visit the water quality solutions page.