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Portland Water Bureau

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

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

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

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Readiness to Serve: Service Center Employees

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Portland Water Bureau Service Center Staff
Service Center Staff

The Portland Water Bureau Customer Service Walk-In Service Center employees provide an invaluable service each day to Water Bureau customers. They are known for going the extra mile to actively look for opportunities to render service above and beyond customers’ expectations.

Check out these facts about the Service Center and its team of dedicated employees: 

  • Located on the first floor of the Portland Building, employees in the walk-in Service Center assist Water Bureau customers Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • The Service Center is the only office within the City of Portland where you can pay a bill in person.
  • Staff is made up of 10 employees, including one Customer Service Supervisor, two Customer Account Specialist IIs, and seven Customer Account Specialist Is.
  • Employees are responsible for a multitude of tasks, including receiving in-person customer payments by cash, check or card, processing all return and collection payments, opening and closing accounts, reviewing accounts for shutoffs, locks and plocks, processing financial assistance applications, initiating shutoff and reconnect work with inspectors and Meter Shop personnel, advanced debt recovery, analyzing final bill accounts, and running and examining the credit card expiration and unpaid fireline reports.
  • The Financial Assistance Program Coordinator also works out of the Service Center, offering customers who qualify for resources and help with bill discounts, crisis assistance, fixture and leak repair, water conservation, and the Safety Net Program.
  • Every staff member is fully cross-trained and rotates through every Service Center job function.
  • This group of employees is one of the most diverse teams within the Water Bureau, bringing uniquely different qualifications, backgrounds, and experiences to the job.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

NEWS RELEASE 10/20/14: Water Service to be Restored Soon, NW 23th Place at NW Westover Road to Remain closed to Traffic

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A crew from the Portland Water Bureau anticipates having the drinking water restored to about 100 affected customers by 6:00 pm this evening, October 20. The damage to the pavement at NW 23th Place will require more time to be repaired. 

At this time, there is no timetable for when NW 23rd Place at NW Westover Road will re-open to traffic. Normally, dry weather conditions are required to repair asphalt pavement. 

At about 1:30 am this morning, the Portland Water Bureau responded to a main break on NW 23th Place at NW Westover Road. A 10-inch diameter cast iron pipe broke, cracking the street and flooding the roadway. The pipeline’s age is more than 50 years old. 

The Water Bureau crew was able to get the water turned off and quickly got repair work underway. A 20-foot section of durable ductile iron pipe replaced the broken cast iron main.  

Early this morning, a number of storefront businesses were without water for a few hours, but crews were able to provide temporary service to most of them. A few businesses reportedly closed for the day. 

The bureau was unable to provide temporary water to the high rise apartment building, but customers should have water restored around 6:00 pm. Affected customers are asked to let the water run for several minutes to clear any natural sediments found in area water mains. 

Tim Hall
Public Information

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 10/15/14: Portland Water Bureau Reopens Northbound Traffic Lanes on SE 162nd Avenue at SE Division Street

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The contractor for the Portland Water Bureau has completed the installation of a large water pipe vault under SE 162th Avenue at SE Division Street. The northbound lanes from SE Division Street are now open to all traffic.

The underground work required that all northbound lanes on SE 162nd Avenue from

SE Division Street be closed for six months.

The contactor has moved the work zone south to SE 162nd Avenue at SE Rhone Street, where pipe connection work will occur inside an existing water vault. This work will impact a short section of one northbound traffic lane, which will be coned around the work zone.

At the end of each work day, the lane will be steel sheeted and reopened. Typically, work hours are 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. This vault work is scheduled to take six to eight weeks to complete.

The vault work is part of the improvements required to connect the city’s new second Powell Butte reservoir to the water system.

For more project information, visit http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/powellbutte.

Tim Hall
Public Information

Plentiful Pirates Pillage Portland Party!

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Aquifer Adventure, Portland Water Bureau’s annual groundwater festival, took place under sunny skies on September 13 in the Columbia South Shore Well Field (CSSWF), which serves as Portland's supplemental water supply.

 

The event drew 537 pirates of all ages for a fun, educational afternoon. 

 

Co-hosted by the Portland Water Bureau and Columbia Slough Watershed Council, the event was staffed by 50 volunteers who brought groundwater and natural resources education to the community through a series of games and activities.

Anyone who would like to learn more about the CSSWF is invited to attend Groundwater 101 on November 15. This interactive workshop is presented with a mix of hands-on and classroom-style teaching and is appropriate for adults and high school students aged 14 and up. Get more information and register here.

Fast Facts about the Columbia South Shore Well Field 

The Water Bureau operates a well field capable of producing close to 100 million gallons per day of high quality drinking water. The CSSWF is the second largest water source in the State of Oregon, with about half of the daily capacity of Portland’s Bull Run source. Groundwater from the CSSWF is used as an emergency back up for customers served by the Bull Run supply and also provides supplemental supply during the summer high demand season.

The Columbia South Shore Well Field:

  • Can provide 82-102 million gallons a day of drinking water from 27 wells
  • Meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards
  • Is ideally located to serve as the secondary source of Portland’s drinking water
  • Allows Portland to maintain Bull Run as an unfiltered drinking water source
  • Supplies water during emergencies or to augment Bull Run supply in the summer
  • Is protected from contamination by the Groundwater Protection Program which requires businesses that use harmful chemicals to implement best management practices to prevent spills
  • Spans three cities: Portland, Gresham and Fairview

To access groundwater, wells are drilled into aquifers. Portland groundwater supplies are tapped from three regional aquifers. Learn more at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/groundwater.

Save the Date: The History of Clean Drinking Water on OPB on Wednesday, October 15

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Clean drinking water is something that many of us take for granted. In the U.S., we are fortunate to be able to turn on the tap and have clean, potable water any time of the day. However, it hasn’t always been this way.

In 1895, drinking water began flowing from the Bull Run watershed, leading to a substantial decrease in waterborne disease outbreaks. In 1929, the Portland Water Bureau began adding chlorine as a disinfectant, practically eliminating waterborne disease outbreaks. Worldwide, the use of chlorine to treat water has been so effective it is considered as one of the greatest public health innovations in modern history. 

Portland’s story is not unique. In the late-1800s many cities around the U.S., and especially the new cities being built in the West, had to develop new systems to keep sewage and drinking water separate. In an upcoming series on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) titled “How We Got to Now With Steven Johnson,” the first episode “Clean” covers the history of clean drinking water and what mark its importance has left on our world. 

Check out the two minute sneak-peak of “Clean” below. The full episode airs on OPB TV on Wednesday, October 15 at 9:00 pm.

Make it a double feature and watch the OPB Oregon Experience episode “Bull Run that is available online to watch anytime. This Oregon Experience episode covers the history of how the Bull Run River and watershed became and has continued to be Portland’s main drinking water source for the past 120 years. 

Fast facts about Portland’s drinking water treatment process: 

* Portland is one of six large water systems in the U.S. that does not filter its drinking water. Portland meets stringent requirements for remaining an unfiltered water system by having very high quality source water, restricting access to the watershed, and having a watershed protection program. 

* Based on the high quality of water from  the Bull Run, and the efforts in place to protect the watershed, Portland  is not required to treat for Cryptosporidium, a disease-causing microorganism. Portland is the only system in the U.S. with this type of approval.

*  Water treatment is a three step process:

  1. Chlorine is added to initially disinfect the water.
  2. Ammonia is added to form chloramines. Chloramines stays in water longer than chlorine. Using chloramines ensures that disinfection remains adequate throughout the entire distribution system.
  3. Sodium hydroxide is added to increase the pH of the water to reduce corrosion of lead and copper from plumbing systems.

Want more information? Visit the Portland Water Bureau’s Water System webpage to learn more. 

Sarah Messier
Water Quality