Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.


1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

White Cloudy Water

By Brian Balla

Throughout the year, the Portland Water Bureau’s Water Line receives calls from customers who say their tap water appears milky white or cloudy. 

In the majority of cases the cloudy water is caused by harmless air bubbles, but sometimes it can indicate a water heater issue.  Fortunately, determining the cause is as simple as filling up a clear glass with water and setting it on the counter.  

  • If the water clears from the bottom of the glass to the top, the water has air bubbles. This reaction sometimes occurs when cold water from underground mains enters warmer pipes inside your home. Since cold water holds more dissolved air than warm water, as water warms air may be released as tiny bubbles when a tap is turned on. The water is safe to drink, the discoloring is just the result of a harmless reaction.
  • If the water in the glass clears from the top-down, and white or grey particles settle to the bottom, this may indicate a water heater issue. To determine the type of issue, remove some of the particles from the water and add them to a small amount of vinegar. If the particles dissolve, this indicates mineral content and your hot water heater may require maintenance. If the particles don’t dissolve, it is likely the water heater dip tube is breaking down and repair is needed. 

Home Water Quality

To learn about water quality at home, visit the Water Bureau's Drinking Water Quality webpage or contact the Water Quality Line at 503-823-7525 or (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday).

Join Our Team: Utility Worker II, Apprentice

By Brian Balla

If you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you.

The Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs.

The Water Bureau currently employs approximately 560 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Current Opportunity at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Utility Worker II, Apprentice  Full Time $17.51 - $23.13 Hourly

Fri. 1/27/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time

 Apply Here!

All completed applications for this position must be submitted no later than 4:30 pm, on the closing date and hour of this recruitment. E-mailed and / or faxed applications will not be accepted.

Learn More About the Water Bureau


For more information regarding career opportunities at the Water Bureau, contact (503) 823-3515 or e-mail.

Whatever Your Life's Work Is, Do It Well

By Brian Balla

Water Bureau crews fix water main break

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we reflect on the public service the Water Bureau provides to the city. We are indeed fortunate to have such a strong workforce dedicated to public safety and the delivery of clean, safe, high quality water.

Crews install new pipeDuring this most recent freeze period, the Portland Water Bureau Maintenance and Construction crews responded to over 45 main breaks since last Monday; ten main breaks occurred throughout the city just this weekend. Two main breaks occurred in Northeast Portland, six in Southwest Portland and two in Southeast Portland. Our dedicated crews have gone from site to site in freezing temperatures to keep families in water and traffic moving around the city. Throughout the repairs, we have coordinated with our partners at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) who help keep the roads safe.

Broken water main

At the Portland Water Bureau, we consider this time of the year to be Main Break Season. We see approximately 200 main breaks per year, which is relatively low compared to cities of comparable size. This is because of our low-corrosive soil. In a short amount of time, freezing temperatures have caused nearly a quarter of our average 200 main breaks per year in one week.

Prepare Your Pipes for Winter Weather

You can learn more about main breaks and preventing home plumbing from freezing at

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 01/16/17: Water Main Repair Closes Right Southbound Lane at Barbur Boulevard near Hamilton Street

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

Portland Water Bureau crews are responding to a water  main break on the shoulder of Barbur Boulevard near Hamilton Street.

To assess and repair the damaged water pipe, crews must reduce Barbur to one southbound lane near Hamilton Street until approximately 5 p.m. today.

The main is an 8-inch cast iron pipe from 1941.

The traveling public is reminded to stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly slow or stop. To avoid traffic delays, motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes around the work site.

The Portland Water Bureau’s Maintenance & Construction crews are ready to respond to emergencies, including water main breaks, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. On average, crews respond to 200 main breaks a year. Members of the public are encouraged to report suspected main breaks to the Water Bureau's 24-hour Emergency Line at 503-823-4874.

Portland Water Bureau Offices Closed January 16 in Observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

By Brian Balla

In observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Portland Water Bureau offices will be closed on Monday, January 16, 2017.

This includes both the Customer Service Call Center and the Customer Service Walk-In Service Center located on the first floor at 1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, Oregon. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 8 a.m. 

During the holiday, Water Bureau customers are invited to pay their bill in the following ways:

  • Online
  • Pay by phone by dialing 503-823-7770 and press 1
  • Drop off: Leave a payment in the Water Bureau's night box located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue to the left of the building's front doors

To report a water system emergency, contact the 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503-823-4874.