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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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Fix a Leak Week - Every Drop Counts!

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Fix a Leak Week is March 12-18 2012

Every Drop Counts!

Homes in the United States lose more than one trillion gallons of water each year from easy-to-fix leaks. That’s why this week the Portland Water Bureau is encouraging customers to identify and address leaks around their homes and businesses. Fixing water leaks not only saves water, but can also help save money on water & sewer bills.

Follow these steps to find and fix common household leaks:

  1. Test for toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring (or leak detection dye tablet available from the Portland Water Bureau) in the toilet tank and wait 15 minutes. If any color shows up in the bowl without flushing first, you have a leak.
  2. Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring they’re screwed on tight. Make sure the showerhead arm is wrapped in “plumbers tape,” a special tape available at hardware stores, and use a wrench to tighten it up.
  3. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.  Replace old and worn out faucet pieces like washers and o-rings to stop a leaky faucet. To save more water without a noticeable difference in flow, twist on a water-efficient faucet aerator.
  4. If it is time to replace a fixture, look for models labeled with the WaterSense logo. WaterSense fixtures are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

Toilet leak detection tablets, bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators, and high-efficiency showerheads are available to Portland Water Bureau customers free of charge.

Visit or call (503) 823-4527 to order.

Sabrina Litton

Water Efficiency Program

Portland Water Bureau Obtains Water Treatment Variance

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Falls Creek waterfall in Bull Run watershed by Roman Johnston

Today the Portland Water Bureau achieved what no other municipal drinking water system in the nation ever has—it received a variance to the treatment requirements of the federal Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2). This decision by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) saves Portland ratepayers roughly $70 million in capital expenses by allowing Portland to avoid constructing a treatment facility to address the microorganism Cryptosporidium for the City’s Bull Run source.  

This variance applies only to the treatment portion of the LT2 rule; the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will conduct a second public meeting on April 24 to have a scientific and technical discussion related to the uncovered finished water reservoir requirement of LT2.

The achievement of the treatment variance is a testament to Portland’s elected officials, citizens and Water Bureau employees, both past and present, who have diligently worked over many years to create and implement ever-increasing watershed protection practices and policies.

Efforts to achieve the treatment variance began four years ago, and Water Bureau staff worked hard to develop a scientifically sound basis to support the bureau’s request, which was submitted in June of 2011.

The order issued by OHA indicates that the variance will go into effect on April 1, 2012 and will be in effect for 10 years if Portland is able to continue to meet a list of conditions set forth by the agency, which has the authority for enforcing all safe drinking water requirements, including the LT2 rule.  

Portland intends to develop monitoring programs to meet these required conditions while also developing additional research to help maintain the variance. We will also continue to collaborate with local and state health departments and agencies to protect public health.

The Bull Run watershed has earned its reputation as the pristine water source we know it is, and the citizens of Portland should be just as proud as I am of the people who were able to prove it.

The Final Order granting the variance and additional background on Portland’s LT2 compliance efforts can be accessed online at

David Shaff


Lead Poisoning Prevention Opportunity for Non-Profits

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Water pipes can be a dangerous source of lead poisoning. Get your pipes tested.The Portland Water Bureau Lead Hazard Reduction Program is announcing the availability of grant funds to assist organizations in providing lead poisoning prevention education and outreach services in their communities and to the populations they serve. The Portland Lead Hazard Reduction Program currently provides resources for hazard reduction in homes, free blood lead testing, and community education and outreach regarding lead hazards.


Lead poisoning is a major environmental hazard to children under six. Even low levels can cause permanent brain and kidney damage, learning difficulties, and temper and attention problems. Lead poisoning can and does happen in Multnomah County. Over 85 percent of all housing in Multnomah County was built before 1978 and may contain lead paint.


The good news is that lead poisoning is entirely preventable.   


Non-profit community organizations and local governmental agencies are eligible to apply for these funds.


If you have identified a need for lead poisoning prevention in your community and have ideas for addressing that need, please consider submitting an application. Applications are due to the Portland Lead Hazard Reduction Program by Friday, April 13th, 2012, 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions please contact the Lead Hazard Reduction Program at (503) 823-1951.


Download the application today.

Scott Bradway

Lead Education and Outreach Program Manager

Bull Run Working Group Spring Meeting

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The public is invited to attend the Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Hood National Forest Bull Run working group meeting on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the in the Bull Run conference room on the 5th floor of the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in Portland.

Under the terms of a 20-year agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and theMt.HoodNational Forest, staff engaged in the management of the Bull Run watershed,Portland’s primary drinking water source, will meet semi-annually each year. The purpose of these meetings is to review work plans, budgets and staff assignments; and communicate accomplishments and issues addressed during the course of management activities. An annual report is presented at the spring meetings.

For more information about the 20-year stewardship agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt.HoodNational Forest, please go to land management page or

For more information contact Terry Black, Sandy Basin Community Information Representative, at (503) 823-1168.

Portland Loo Honored with "Intelligence" Award from EfficientGov

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Anne Hill by Portland Loo in Shamrock RunOnce again, the patented Portland Loo is receiving recognition for its innovation. EfficientGov, a newsletter focused on the fiscal challenges of municipal government, selected The Portland Loo as its 2012 “Intelligence” Award winner.

“The Portland Loo symbolizes intelligent municipal government. The City created a patentable product solving a problem for all municipalities, and similarly, their sales initiative to other cities is an important innovation in government. Generating new revenue helps to alleviate taxpayer reliance. The Loo shows how government can become a profitable resource rather than a net spender,” said Barry Greenfield, Editor and Publisher of EfficientGov and a Selectman in Swampscott, MA.

Designed and fabricated locally, the Portland Loo is attractive, functional and open 24 hours a day.

“We are honored to be recognized this award. The Portland Loo has proven to be a very popular, affordable and successful solution to a basic human need that challenges communities all over the world,” said Commissioner Randy Leonard. “Other cities are taking notice, as we just sold a Loo that is in service to Victoria, British Columbia, and several other cities are expressing interest.” The City of Portland recently installed its fifth Portland Loo, located at NW Couch and 8th Avenue in the North Park Blocks.

The Portland Loo is also conveniently located for many of Portland’s urban traditions, like last weekend’s Shamrock Run (my first 8k!)

Anne Hill
Principal Management Analyst