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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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Senseless Vandalism at Powell Butte Nature Park

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Senseless Vandalism at Powell Butte Nature Park

Recently, a bicyclist in the park pointed out a potential safety hazard from posts used to hold up erosion-control fabric fencing used in construction. The Water Bureau quickly installed safety cones atop the posts that line some of the trails. This past fall, vandals removed many of the cones and tossed them over the fence onto the road, or far off the trail. 


Other vandalism included people cutting out portions of the attractive fabric screens (pictured) that the Water Bureau installed along some fences to protect trail users from road dust. The Bureau will attempt to secure the safety cones and replace the screens.

The City is asking for your help. If you see someone tampering with, removing, or destroying the cones, dust screens, or any other park property, please contact Water Bureau Security at (503) 823-6084 and provide a description.


-Tim Hall

Portland Submits Bull Run Treatment Variance Request

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June 6, 2011


Contact: Scott Bradway

Portland Water Bureau

(503) 823-1951

Portland Submits Bull Run Treatment Variance Request

PORTLAND, OR — The Portland Water Bureau today submitted a detailed request for a treatment variance to the federal and state requirements of the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2).  The request, submitted to the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Program, provides substantial data and analysis in support of the assertion that treatment to address the parasite Cryptosporidium in Portland’s drinking water is unnecessary due to the nature of the City’s Bull Run source. If the variance is granted, Portland will be able to avoid the costs of building a water treatment facility to comply with the LT2 rule.

“No Cryptosporidium was detected during an intensive water sampling program totaling thousands of liters of water making up hundreds of samples,” said Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff. “The Water Bureau has clearly demonstrated that the Bull Run water source is of such high quality that no treatment for Cryptosporidium is necessary to protect public health” 

The LT2 rule focuses on reducing the risks of Cryptosporidium, a chlorine-resistant protozoan parasite that has been found in surface waters worldwide. Cryptosporidium contamination can come from any source of fecal matter including domestic animals, wastewater treatment plant discharges, and wild animals; however, sources from people and cattle pose the highest risk of infecting humans.

Portland’s request shows that the circumstances of the Bull Run watershed—with its stringent federal and local protections, a natural environment that limits contamination, an absence of the typical highest risk Cryptosporidium sources, and low Cryptosporidium occurrence in wildlife—significantly limit the risk of Cryptosporidium exposure from the water source.

Portland Water Bureau staff, working with several international experts from multiple disciplines, developed the variance request over the last five months following a year–long intensive water monitoring program for the Bull Run that detected zero instances of Cryptosporidium. The monitoring results serve as the central basis for Portland’s variance request and substantiate the effectiveness of the Bull Run watershed in limiting Cryptosporidium from entering the drinking water source.

The technical information submitted with the request provides the details of the testing program, including the locations and timing of testing, and describes additional field work and analysis that characterize the conditions in the Bull Run watershed that account for the consistent non-detection of Cryptosporidium in Bull Run water.

The request also presents public health data about infection from Cryptosporidium in the Portland Water Bureau service area and the lack of any documented transmission of the pathogen through drinking water. This data, along with details of the protected nature of the Bull Run source led to important conclusions from a panel of national public health experts. The panel found that the data collection conducted by the Portland Water Bureau had been extremely thorough and adding treatment for the Bull Run would not likely result in measurable improvement to public heath.

If the State Drinking Water Program grants a variance, federal and state regulations require ongoing monitoring. The Water Bureau has proposed a monitoring program as part of its request based on the input of a panel of utility, regulatory and microbiology experts, as well as input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Implementation of a monitoring program such as the one proposed by the Water Bureau will provide an ongoing assessment of Cryptosporidium in the Bull Run and a means for state regulators to evaluate the ongoing basis for a variance. 

Portland anticipates a decision on its request from the State Drinking Water Program by the end of the calendar year. If its variance request is not approved, the Water Bureau will proceed with construction of an ultraviolet water treatment plant to address Cryptosporidium. The LT2 rule requires such facilities to be complete and in operation by April 1, 2014.

To access the variance request document, please visit the Water Bureau website at

Water Heroes

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Pint-Sized Leadership: Meet Ryan Hreijac, a Global Leader

At the age of six in 1998, Ryan learned from his first grade teacher that people were dying from the lack of clean water in developing countries. He confronted his parents about the problem and in a very focused and determined way Ryan began to raise funds to help these people. This included his doing extra work around the house to earn a whopping $70. In 1999 his first well was built in a small village in Uganda.


This success prompted Ryan to accelerate his efforts to bring clean drinking water to peoples in Africa. Ryan’s Well Foundation was created in 2001, and over the subsequent years more than 660 wells and 715 latrines were built to provide safe drinking water and sanitary conditions for over 700,000 people.


Here are a few facts to illustrate the scope of the problem of unsafe drinking water:

• Almost one billion people lack access to safe drinking water

• Some 5,000 children under five years of age die every day from unsafe drinking water

• Over two and a half billion people do not have adequate sanitation

• Half of these people have NO sanitation at all

Now at 19 years of age Ryan has continued to expand his foundation’s work. He has visited more than two dozen countries to speak on the vital need for safe drinking water. He is recognized by UNICEF as a Global Youth Leader.

We know that 5 million people, most of them children, die every year from illnesses caused by poor drinking water. If we do not change our ways, by the year 2025 as much as two-thirds of the world will be living in either water scarcity or total water deprivation.

We are inspired by Ryan's compassion and accomplishments, and hope you will be inspired as well. 


Restoring Ira Keller Fountain to Service

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Restoring Ira Keller Fountain to Service

Water Bureau electrician Jim Smith (in orange hat) assists Pacific Power & Light crew in replacing a failed transformer which took down the fountain Wednesday morning. The fountain was back in operation Thursday afternoon. Great work, guys!

Please Clear Your Meter Box!

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Please Clear Your Meter Box!


Did you know that keeping your water meter clear is your responsibility? Sometimes it’s easy to forget the importance of keeping the meter accessible to our staff.

Parked vehicles, overgrown plants, yard debris and construction materials prevent meter readers and maintenance crews from doing their jobs.

We may leave a notice on your property if we were not able to access your meter. You may also receive an estimated bill and an additional fee if we could not obtain a meter reading.