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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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Portland to request variance to LT2 drinking water treatment requirement

By Teresa Black 0 Comments | Add a Comment

Portland to request variance to LT2 drinking water treatment requirement

The Portland Water Bureau announced today that it intends to develop a request for a variance to the treatment requirements of the federal Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2).

The variance would enable the City to avoid much of the $100 million expense required to design and build a water treatment facility at the City’s Bull Run watershed to address the parasite Cryptosporidium.

Portland began intensive water quality monitoring in December 2009 to gather evidence relevant to the question of whether the Bull Run watershed was at risk of delivering the type and quantity of Cryptosporidium that can cause illness if consumed.

No Cryptosporidium was found in any of the tests at any of the sampling locations. These results build on previous routine testing results which document that Cryptosporidium has not been detected in the watershed since September 2002.

For more information on the bureau’s efforts to obtain a variance to the treatment portion of the LT2 rule, please view the LT2 website which will be updated as new information becomes available.

Powell Butte II

By Robin Hagedorn 0 Comments | Add a Comment

Managing stormwater on Powell Butte

The return of the rainy season reminds us that Johnson Creek, which runs through southeast Portland, has a history of flooding. That is one of the reasons that stormwater management is a top priority and a critical component of the Powell Butte 2 Reservoir project. The stormwater management methods employed on the butte are designed and built to accommodate rainfall amounts that could result from a 100-year rain event - the amount of precipitation that could be equaled or exceeded every 100 years, on average.
other holding pond
Photo above: One of two temporary stormwater holding ponds collect and detain rainfall before the water is slowly discharged to Johnson Creek.

Quarterly Bull Run watershed projects

By Teresa Black 0 Comments | Add a Comment

Quarterly Bull Run watershed projects and ongoing maintenance activities list available

Today the Portland Water Bureau published its updated list of projects and ongoing maintenance activities that are occurring or planned to occur in the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit.

The purpose of the list is to ensure that the public has access to information on the Water Bureau’s actions in maintaining and protecting the watershed and the infrastructure that makes up the Bull Run Water Supply System. On a quarterly basis, the Water Bureau provides updates on all bureau-sponsored projects and activities both active and in the planning stage within the management unit. The next updated list will be posted in April 2011.

Please contact Terry Black at (503) 823-1168 with any questions.

-Terry Black

News Release

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Response to EPA Recommendations to Test for Hexavalent Chromium in Drinking Water

In response to a report by the national Environmental Working Group on possible hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) contamination in drinking water, the Portland Water Bureau wants to reassure customers that our water is safe to drink. Chromium is found in several forms and is naturally found in the environment. However there are no known sources of chromium-6 in Portland’s highly protected drinking water sources, the Bull Run and Columbia South Shore Wellfield. These measures protect Portland’s drinking water from industrial contaminants such as hexavalent chromium.


The Water Bureau monitors for total chromium three-times a year from the Bull Run and every time the groundwater is operated – far more often than is required. Chromium was not detected in 30 of 33 samples tested from the Bull Run since 2000. Of the detections, the highest level of total chromium was 0.003 mg/L (3 ppb), more than 30 times below the MCL.

Hexavalent chromium is not a regulated contaminant and has not been tested separately in Portland’s drinking water. The federal EPA recently released recommendations and sampling methods for drinking water providers to test for hexavalent chromium on a quarterly basis. The Portland Water Bureau is developing a sampling plan that will, at a minimum, meet these recommendations.

The Portland Water Bureau continues to support research by the EPA, the Water Research Foundation, and other government and scientific organizations to provide guidance to water utilities regarding contaminant monitoring. The EPA continues to conduct a risk assessment on hexavalent chromium, which will be completed in 2011.

Customers with specific questions are encouraged to call the Water Bureau’s Water Line at (503) 823-7525.


-Sarah Bott

A Poem About the Tour of the Bull Run Watershed

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A Poem About the Tour of the Bull Run Watershed



bull run watershed tour
what clean water there is, sans manure
cold snow and icy roads
too cold to see the toads
this system be gravity fed
and the water contains no lead
bring warm clothes and a sack lunch
so you can have something to munch
the water brought to you is cold
it is better for the fish we're told
if you ever find the time to take a look
its far better than reading a book


-By Portland State University students Tatyana Shiyenkova, Eli Murphy, and Micheal Kim

students in Catherine Howell's class which studies the workings of the Portland Water Bureau