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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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Local Bakery Makes Every Drop Count by Increasing Water Efficiency

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For many Portland area businesses, using water efficiently makes great business sense. With the rising costs of operations for some companies, conserving water is one way to reduce costs without compromising their products or services. 

In 2012, the Portland Water Bureau’s Water Efficiency Team worked with employees from the Helen Bernhard Bakery in NE Portland to identify a number of opportunities to optimize water use and institute conservation measures. As a result, the bakery has reaped both financial and environmental benefits, demonstrating that water conservation can improve the bottom-line. 

During the initial site survey, approximately 133,000 gallons per year in various facility and equipment leaks were discovered.  Leaks to a pre-rinse sprayer and toilets were repaired immediately. 

The Water Bureau Team also found that the majority of the bakery’s water consumption — more than 500,000 gallons per year — was being consumed to operate two water-cooled condensers serving the refrigeration and freezing units. The water-cooled condenser that served a walk-in refrigeration unit was replaced with an air-cooled model.  While the cost to replace this unit was expensive for the small business, it was made more cost-effective with the help of a $5,000 water efficiency incentive from the Portland Water Bureau. 

The investments that Helen Bernard Bakery made resulted in significant savings, estimated to be 486,000 fewer gallons annually — a cost savings of $12,500 a year.

Remember, water conservation—using water efficiently and avoiding waste—is a critical part of ensuring sustainable water supplies now and for future generations. 

Water Conservation Assessments
No-cost water conservation assessments are available to commercial, industrial, multi-family and institutional properties that are PWB customers. Once problem areas are located, the Water Efficiency Team will help businesses implement efficiency improvements by offering technical support and applicable rebates.  If your business would like a water conservation assessment, contact the Water Efficiency Program at (503) 823-4527, or email

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Vault Construction Slows Traffic on SE Powell Blvd. at SE 147th Ave.

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A flagger keep traffic flowing safely.

Due to the construction of two large underground utility vaults on SE 147th Ave., traffic headed both east and west on SE Powell Blvd. may be slowed, or stopped briefly to allow vehicles to turn north onto SE 147th Ave., or to exit onto Powell Blvd. Currently underway, the work requires a 24-hour, seven day a week Local Access Only street closure of one block of SE 147th Ave. until June 2013. 

On this dead-end street, the work zone is near the corner, so three traffic flaggers must be stationed around-the-clock to allow residents, visitors and deliveries to safely come and go. The intersection is lighted at night for the safety of the flaggers.

One vault will contain a new water flow control valve being connected to an existing 48-inch diameter pipeline that serves the Powell Butte underground reservoirs. Once this water vault is completed, the contractor will move to the other side of the street to build another utility vault. This one will house an in-pipe four turbine hydropower system that will use the force of fast flowing water to generate clean, reliable and low-cost electricity. Portland is one of the first cities in the US to install this innovative in-pipe hydropower system. 

The Portland Water Bureau encourages motorists to use alternate routes away from the work zone to avoid any delays. The public’s patience and cooperation are appreciated as the Water Bureau works to upgrade the city’s century-old water system.

Tim Hall
Community Information & Involvement

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Residents Encouraged to Become Leak Detectives in “Fix a Leak Week” Contest!

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Fix a Leak Week GnomeApproximately 5 to 10 percent of American homes have leaks that drip away 90 gallons of water a day or more.  Many of these leaks reside in old fixtures such as leaky toilets and faucets. In fact, according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year. That's equivalent to the annual drinking water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined!

Since minor water leaks account for so much water wasted each year in U.S. homes, the EPA  promotes Fix a Leak Week the third week of March every year in order to remind Americans to check their plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems. This year to promote Fix a Leak Week (March 18-24, 2013), the Regional Water Providers Consortium (RWPC) is launching a photo/video contest that invites contestants to submit photo/video entries that depict people finding & fixing leaks. Contestants are encouraged to submit clever photos and/or 30 second videos of themselves or someone else finding and fixing leaks around their homes with the chance to win a $500, $300, or $200 Lowe’s gift card.

Get Involved!

Here’s how: Snap a picture or create a video checking for leaks, twisting and tightening hose or pipe connections, or replacing broken fixtures.

Submit entries via email to by midnight March 20, 2013 for a chance to win! Have fun and get creative! Imaginative, clever, or unique entries are encouraged.

In order to be eligible to win prizes, winners must receive water from one of the RWPC’s 22 members that serve Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties in Oregon.

Visit the RWPC’s website at for full contest details.

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TRAFFIC ADVISORY 02/22/13: Short Section of Southwest Montgomery Drive Closed for 4 Days Next Week

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From Tuesday, February 26 through Friday, March 1, 2013, the Portland Water Bureau will close a short section ofSouthwest Montgomery Drivebetween addresses 2525 and 2449. Construction work hours are 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday through Friday. Both lanes of Southwest Montgomery Drive will be open after construction hours.

The closure is necessary so that Water Bureau crews can install the final tie-ins as part of the final phase of the Portland Heights Main Replacement Project.  

Detour signs will be located to direct traffic around the closure area. Residents on Southwest Montgomery Drive close to the construction zone will be required to access their homes during construction hours from either north or south of the construction zone.

The Portland Water Bureau apologizes for any inconvenience this closure and detour may cause. Your patience and cooperation are appreciated as we work to ensure the community’s water needs are met. For more information, contact Terry Black, Public Information, at (503) 823-1168.

Terry Black
Community Information and Involvement

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