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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

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Water Quality

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Fall Color Showing Up in the Water System

The Portland Water Bureau advises customers that a slight change in the color of their drinking water at this time of the year is normal for drinking water coming from the unfiltered Bull Run water supply system. This unusual tint in the water results from the first flush of organic material from vegetation that has been washed from the forest floor and stream channels. The flush of these materials ends up in the drinking water reservoirs in the Bull Run watershed.

“The Water Line gets calls every year about this time,” said Administrator David Shaff. “The color only affects what the water looks like; taste and water quality continue to be outstanding.” The Water Bureau routinely monitors for all water quality standards. Portland’s drinking water continues to meet all state and federal requirements.

For more information, contact our Water Quality Line at (503) 823-7525

Water Bureau Budget

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Sound Financial Management Guides Water Bureau Budget Process

The Portland Water Bureau began working on the development of its Fiscal Year 2011-2012 budget on October 6, 2010.  The Bureau is excited to develop a budget that allows us to continue providing the "4-C's Clean, Cold, Cheap and Constant" water to residents and commercial businesses within the metropolitan area.

The Water Bureau's Employee and Community Budget Development Committee functions as the Bureau Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) and is charged with developing the annual budget per City of Portland guidelines.  We have brought together a representative body of key stakeholders including members of the community and the Portland Utility Review Board (PURB) bureau employees, labor representatives, and bureau management.  Together, these members review, discuss, deliberate and work to develop a consensus budget that balances the infrastructure needs of a 115 year old system, complies with Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules relating to clean water and is cognizant of the continuing recessionary challenges faced by residents and businesses throughout the service delivery area.

Budget meetings will occur from October through January.  Generally there are 2-3 meetings per month, lasting 2 hours per meeting.  There may be follow-up meetings in February and March, to review directives from the Office of Management & Finance and the Mayor's Office.  Meetings are held in the Portland Building, from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM.  All meetings are open to the public.

For more information, contact Jimmy Brown, Community Involvement & Information Manager at 503-823-3028 or

To view budget documents, click here.



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There's an App for That!

IBM has created a free iPhone application to help consumers assist in monitoring source water levels. According to iTunes the Creek Watch app "provides an easy way to lend a hand by reporting on any waterway you pass. We aggregate reports and share them with water control boards to help them track pollution, manage water resources, and plan environmental programs."

IBM is also working on a version for Android users. In the meantime, if you are an iphone user you can head over to iTunes now to download the app and start contributing data. More information is available at

Bull Run Watershed

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2010 Annual Watershed Survey Report

The Water Bureau recently received the 2010 Annual Watershed Survey Report for the Bull Run report from State Department of Human Services (DHS) Drinking Water Program. The report shows that the Water Bureau's inspection passed with no exceptions. This inspection is part of Portland's filtration exemption. In order to maintain the exemption to filtration, the Water Bureau must meet the following requirements: source water quality conditions, redundant disinfection for inactivation of 99.9% Giardia cysts and auxiliary power, a comprehensive watershed control program with an annual report, and an annual on-site watershed inspection.

No significant deficiencies were noted in the report.  The report concluded that "Overall, the watershed is well protected and the treatment facilities have redundant disinfection options with auxiliary power. The Portland Water Bureau continues to do an excellent job maintaining the water quality from Bull Run and being proactive with the watershed control program. The Portland Water Bureau continues to meet all of the criteria for the exemption from filtration, and can therefore remain using an unfiltered surface water source."

Recently, Water Bureau employees Dick Robbins, Kimberly Gupta and I took staff from the Drinking Water Program on the annual on-site inspection of the watershed. Water Treatment Operations Supervisor Andrew Degner met us at the Lusted Hill treatment facility and provided the treatment portion of our tour of Lusted Hill and Bull Run Headworks. The on-site watershed inspection included a review of the effectiveness of the watershed control program, physical condition and protection of the source intakes, maintenance programs, operating procedures, data records, and identification of necessary improvements.  

Yone Akagi

Regulatory Compliance Manager


Photo: Bull Run River in the Bull Run Watershed.