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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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Hydrants Used to Extinguish Fires may Cause “Dirty Water” in Area

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A fire at an apartment complex this morning on SE Division Street had Portland firefighters connecting to a number of hydrants to put out the blaze.  During this time, a large volume of water was drawn, increasing water flows in the surrounding pipelines.  A number of residents in the area found their drinking water discolored as a result.

The infrequent surge of water from a hydrant often will cause temporary water discoloration, or “dirty water.” The Portland Water Bureau reminds our customers that there is no health hazards associated with the discolored water.  Dirty water is caused by stirring up harmless natural sediments found in our Bull Run water that normally deposit in slow flow sections water mains.  Flushing a hydrant for routine maintenance or the use of a hydrant to fight a fire will stir up these tiny grains.

“If you encounter dirty water, we recommend that you run the cold water faucets in your home or business for about two to five minutes, or until the water clears,” said Tim Hall,  Public Information Manager.  “If you continue to experience problems with water quality, please contact the bureau’s Water Quality Line at (503) 823-7525.”

Lindsay Wochnick
Community Information & Involvement

Water Bureau Budget Development Underway

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The Portland Water Bureau began work on the development of its Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget on October 17, 2012.  The bureau is excited to develop a budget that allows it to continue to provide good customer service and clean, safe drinking water to residents and businesses within the metropolitan area.

A Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) is working with Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff and bureau directors and managers to develop the annual budget per City of Portland guidelines. The bureau has brought together representatives of key stakeholders, including members of the community, Portland Utility Review Board, and labor representatives who work in the bureau.

Together, these members and staff review, discuss, deliberate and work to develop a consensus budget that balances the infrastructure and service needs of a 117-year old water system, complies with state and federal regulations relating to clean water, and is understanding of the continuing recessionary economic challenges facing residents and businesses throughout the service delivery area.

BAC meetings will continue through January 2013.  Generally there are two to three meetings per month, lasting two hours. The current scheduled dates are:

  • November 13, 2012
  • November 28, 2012
  • December 5, 2012
  • December 12, 2012
  • December 19, 2012
  • January 23, 2013

There may be follow-up meetings in February to review directives from the Office of Management & Finance and the Mayor's Office. 

BAC meetings are held in the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Avenue, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM in the Fir Creek Room on the third floor.  All meetings are open to the public, and there is an opportunity for public comment.

For more information, contact Tim Hall, Community Involvement & Information Manager, at (503) 823-6926 or To view budget documents discussed at the BAC meetings, click here.

Lindsay Wochnick
Community Information and Involvement

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 11/07/12: One Lane Closed on NW Skyline Blvd at NW Hawkins Blvd

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The Portland Water Bureau reports that one lane of traffic on NW Skyline Boulevard at NW Hawkins Boulevard must be closed to make emergency repairs to a telephone conduit that was damaged during pipe excavation work.

Flaggers will direct traffic into one lane around the 50 foot long work zone. The repair work is estimated to take about four to six hours to complete.

Motorists are encouraged to find alternate routes to avoid delays.

It’s unknown at this time if the telephone conduit was active, but repairs are still being made. No phone service outage has yet to be reported.

A contractor for the Portland Water Bureau is constructing a 1.3 million gallon underground reservoir in the area of the conduit break.  The project also requires some water pipe installation work in both NW Skyline Boulevard and NW Hawkins Boulevard.

For more information, contact Tim Hall, Public Information, at (503) 823-8064.

Citizens Reminded that Water Pipe Insurance Policies not Affiliated with the Portland Water Bureau

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American Water Resources of Oregon (AWR), a private insurance company, informed the Portland Water Bureau that they will be doing yet another sales mailing offering water service line insurance in Portland. 

The Water Bureau wants to remind our customers such offers are not associated with the City of Portland, nor does the Water Bureau have any connection with AWR, or any other such insurance carrier.

Additional details and important facts you need to know are available at:

Lindsay Wochnick
Community Information and Involvement

Why Utilities Have to Issue Boil Water Advisories

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The recent Boil Water Advisory issued by the City ofTigard has prompted some insightful questions from the public. What causes a Boil Water Advisory to be issued?

Boil Water Advisories are required by state and federal regulations for a variety of reasons to ensure public health protection. Often, the reason for an advisory is due to the detection of bacteria within the drinking water system. Although drinking water is disinfected at the source to address any bacteria and most other microbial contaminants that may be present, these contaminants can sometimes be reintroduced into treated water as it moves through pipes, tanks and reservoirs and on to customers’ taps.   

Contamination can occur when there is a loss of water pressure, a pipe breaks, or another event occurs that exposes drinking water to outside elements.  For example, a broken water pipe might allow for stormwater containing bacteria to be introduced into pipes downstream of the break. Utilities try to find out the precise cause whenever there is a detection; however, it is not always possible to make an exact determination.

Until follow-up testing confirms that no bacteria or other contaminants are present in the drinking water system, customers in an affected area can ensure the safety of their drinking water by boiling it according to the directions provided by their utility.

For more information on the regulations governing Boil Water Advisories, go to

Edward Campbell

PortlandWater Bureau