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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 Water Bureau to Run Groundwater Supply System

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Columbia Southshore Well Field

Columbia South Shore Well Field

On Monday, August 6, 2012, the Portland Water Bureau will begin blending a small portion of water from the city's groundwater supply at Columbia South Shore Well Field into the distribution system as part of an annual maintenance operation. The maintenance operation is scheduled for completion by August 24, 2012.

The groundwater supply is a complex system composed of pumps, electronic instruments and other appurtenances that must be operated regularly to identify any maintenance needs. This routine maintenance will ensure the reliability of the groundwater supply when it’s needed, either in an emergency, or as part of seasonal supply. The well field groundwater is blended with water from the Bull Run watershed and mixed at the city’s 50-million gallon underground reservoir at Powell Butte Nature Park in southeast Portland.

Groundwater Pump Station

Groundwater Pump Station

The rate of groundwater pumping will vary throughout each day. Groundwater will be pumped at a rate of 18 million gallons per day during works hours. No pumping will occur at night. The rate of pumping may decrease toward the end of the operation. The resultant average contribution of groundwater to the system will be approximately 3 percent or less of the total daily water demand of the Portland metropolitan region. Residential customers will experience a minimal change in water quality. Click here for the expected water quality of Bull Run compared to groundwater.

Click here to access a map of areas receiving groundwater blend and areas receiving 100 percent Bull Run water or visit

For more information on Portland Water Bureau operations, visit Customers with water quality questions are encouraged to call the Water Line at 503-823-7525.

Terry Black
Portland Water Bureau
(503) 823-8064

Subs on the Slough: Groundwater Lunch & Learn

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Wellfield Site with Mt. Hood in Background

On Friday, August 17, 2012 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, citizens are invited to join the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council for a free lunchtime tour and presentation about Portland’s Columbia South Shore Wellfield, the supplemental and emergency drinking water supply for the City of Portland. 

The presentation will cover groundwater basics, information on protecting Portland’s underground drinking water source, and a viewing of the solar array that helps off-set the Portland Water Bureau's energy needs. Lunch is provided at picnic tables along the scenic Columbia Slough trail. Advanced registration required; suitable for adults and children 10 & up.

To register, click here or visit

For more information, contact Melissa Sandoz at or 503-281-1132.

Lindsay Wochnick
Senior Administrative Specialist 
Community Information & Involvement 

Powell Butte Nature Park Trail Work Update

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Work is now underway to make improvements on the Elderberry Trail, including restoration and realignment.  Construction on a new connection from the west end on the Old Holgate Trail down to the Dogwood trail will begin soon. The upgraded Dogwood Trail is open and ADA accessible. ADA parking is available at the Vivian Pump Station parking lot.

During the closure of the main parking area, the Anderegg and Wild Horse Trails are being connected to the Mountain View Trail.

The temporary parking lots are the Vivian Pump Station parking lot at 14424 SE Center St.; Gates parking lot at 13799 SE Holgate Blvd near SE 136th Ave., and the Rose Bowling Center parking lot at 3800 SE 164th Ave. at SE Powell Blvd.  All temporary parking lots provide access to the trail system. Restrooms are available at Vivian and Gates lots.

Park users are reminded to bring bottled water as there are no drinking fountains inside the park or at the parking lots.

Lindsay Wochnick
Senior Administrative Specialist
Community Information & Involvement

Local Water Professionals Get First Hand Look at Reservoir Construction

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AWWA Members Tour Powell Butte Reservoir 2

On August 2nd, members of the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Water Works Association (PNWA-AWWA) toured the construction site of the new 50 million gallon underground reservoir at Powell Butte Nature Park in Southeast Portland.

Manager and Principal Engineer Teresa Elliott and group.

Before exploring the site, Project Manager and Principal Engineer Teresa Elliott explained to the group of 18 the purpose, challenges, opportunities, and objectives of this massive project.  Elliott then took the group into the heart of construction, offering a first-hand look at how the many work crews are diligently and carefully pouring concrete in what will make up the reservoir’s floor and walls as well as columns that will support the reservoir’s ceiling.  Construction Manager Rick Lapp was also on hand to explain the placement and purpose of the pipelines, valves, and large flow-meter vaults.

AWWA Members tour Reservoir Floor  Construction Manager Rick Lapp explains pipeline placement.

The Powell Butte Reservoir # 2 Project is being constructed in two phases. Phase 1 got officially underway in July 2009 and was completed in May 2010 .  This work involved site preparation and excavation of more than 323,000 cubic yards of material from the reservoir site. Phase 2 started in May 2011 and involves the construction of the reservoir and the publicly-required park improvements that include an interpretive center with a classroom and restrooms, a maintenance facility, and a permanent caretaker’s house – all designed with a “farm-theme.”  Other park improvements will include a new, expanded parking lot, trail upgrades and changes, and new landscaping.  Phase 2 is scheduled for completion in April 2014.

Construction Manager Rick Lapp and group.

AWWA is an international nonprofit educational association dedicated to safe drinking water. Founded in 1881 as a forum for water professionals to share information and learn from each other for the common good, AWWA is an authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy for improving the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond.

AWWA Members

To keep up on the progress of the Powell Butte Reservoir 2 Project, visit Access additional information the American Water Works Association at

Due to the many construction hazards on site, there are no public tours of reservoir work.  Park visitors are reminded to obey all construction signs and keep out of fenced or signed work areas.

Lindsay Wochnick
Senior Administrative Specialist
Community Information & Involvement

Helpful Hints for Staying Cool in Extreme Heat

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Girl drinking tap water

Portlanders are heading into the second heat wave of 2012.  The forecast predicts the next three to four days will be at or above 90 degrees.  Are you and your family prepared for this round of extremely hot weather?

The Portland Water Bureau and Portland Parks & Recreation encourage the public to beat the heat by drinking enough water, protecting their skin, and visiting Portland’s pools, interactive fountains, springs, and splash pads.

Drink Water and Keep Hydrated
Water helps to regulate the body’s temperature.  If you’re on the move, take a water bottle with you, or sip from the Benson Bubblers located around downtown Portland.  If you are working, exercising, or playing in heat, make sure to increase your water intake.  

Protect Your Skin
When you go outside, make sure to dab on sunscreen and lip balm to protect yourself from harmful sun rays. Wearing a large brim hat and lightweight clothing also help as does seeking shade under a tree in one of Portland’s many great parks.

Cool Down in Portland’s Pools, Interactive Fountains, and Splash Pads

Pools -- Portland Parks & Recreation operates six indoor year-round pools and seven outdoor pools which are open through early September.  Click here for indoor and outdoor pool locations.

Fountains -- Find relief from the heat by exploring Portland’s six interactive fountains: McCoy, Salmon St. Springs, Jamison Square, Naito Legacy, Holladay Park, and Teachers.  Click here for more information on the fountains. And remember, look but don't drink, be safe, and pay careful attention to the fountain’s slippery surfaces, rapidly moving water, and pools of water. Not all of Portland’s decorative fountains are for wading into.

Splash Pads -- Kids, or people of all ages who act like kids, can frolic in water streams and spray for free at local splash pads:

  • Columbia Park,N. Lombard Street and Woolsey Ave.
  • Essex Park, SE 79th Ave & Center Street
  • Earl Boyles Park, SE 112th Avenue & Boise Street
  • Elizabeth Carruthers Park, 3508 SW Moody Ave.
  • Farragut Park, North Kerby Ave. & N. Farragut
  • Grant Park, NE 33rd Avenue & US Grant Place
  • Kenton Park, 8417 N. Brandon Avenue
  • McCoy Park, N Trenton Street & Newman Avenue
  • Northgate Park, N Geneva Avenue & Fessenden Street
  • Peninsula Park, N. 700 Rosa Parks Way
  • Pier Park, North Lombard St. & Bruce Ave.
  • Raymond Park, SE 118th Avenue & Raymond Street
  • Stark Street Island, SE 106th Ave & Stark Street
  • Woodlawn Park, NE13th Ave & Dekum Street

Keep cool and remember to drink lots of water!  

Lindsay Wochnick
Senior Administrative Specialist
Community Information & Involvement