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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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Oregon Health Authority Completes Routine Inspection of Water Bureau System

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Oregon Health Authority officials and Water Bureau Operating Engineer Brian Robison during the inspection of a water tank in NW Portland. 
Oregon Health Authority officials and Water Bureau Operating Engineer Brian Robison during the inspection of a water tank in NW Portland.

On August 14, 2014, the State of Oregon completed a routine inspection of the Portland Water Bureau drinking water system. As required by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Portland’s drinking water system undergoes a thorough, on-site inspection every three years. Portland’s last inspection was in 2011. 

The goal of this extensive inspection, also called the Sanitary Survey, is for state regulators from the Oregon Health Authority’s Drinking Water Services to determine if the Water Bureau’s system meets all operational requirements to provide safe drinking water. This includes identifying any conditions that may pose a sanitary or public health risk.

State officials met with Water Bureau staff throughout June, July, and August to evaluate all sanitary aspects of the drinking water system. From quizzing staff about operating procedures to visually inspecting water storage tanks, well equipment, and treatment facilities, the state spent over 55 hours taking an in-depth look at the system.

Now that the inspection is complete, the State will put together a report with the results of the inspection, a process that can take several months. As with all past inspections, the Water Bureau will address and fix any required or recommended improvements outlined in the 2014 inspection report.

To learn more about water quality, visit

Sarah Messier
Water Quality

Google Ad Not Affiliated with Portland Water Bureau

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Some of our customers have noticed that when they type our web address,, into Google, the Portland Water Bureau is not their first hit.

Instead, an advertisment appears at the top for a third-party billing service. The site, which is unaffiliated with the Portland Water Bureau, states it allows customers to “Pay your water bill online now” and “avoid late fees.” The ad is marked with the word “ad” in a yellow box.

The Portland Water Bureau wants to remind our customers that such offers are not associated with the City of Portland, nor does the Portland Water Bureau have any connection with such companies, or any other third-party biller. 

To avoid viewing these ads at all, you may want to download and install an ad blocking program.

You can still pay your utility bill online at the Portland Water Bureau’s official website, which carries our Benson Bubbler logo and the City of Portland’s seal. Simply visit and click, “Pay my water/sewer bill.” After you log on, you can pay your bill online and you will not be charged a service fee for the convenience of paying online.

If you are ever concerned about matters related to your water service, please call Customer Service at 503-823-7770.

Jaymee Cuti
Public Information

Interstate Renovation Project Makes Steady Progress

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Water from the Bull Run watershed is delivered to the taps of more than 900,000 Oregonian's through a complex system of reservoirs, tanks, pipes, pumps, and valves.

The critical work of maintaining Portland's 225-square-mile water supply system is based from the Portland Water Bureau's Interstate Maintenance Facility, located near the Rose Quarter on N. Interstate Avenue.

This 11-acre facility accommodates approximately 300 employees. It includes a water control center, water quality laboratory, material storage area, vehicle parking, and administrative offices. Construction and maintenance field personnel and associated heavy construction equipment are also supported and staged from this facility.

To rehabilitate and bring the aging facilities up to current safety, seismic, and other codes, the bureau teamed with Hoffman Construction Company in 2012 to begin the Interstate Renovation Project. Over a four-year period, the project includes the construction of two new buildings to replace the 85-year-old Maintenance Building that served as the main office and warehouse. Planned site improvements will then bring the property up to current code requirements for storm water management and landscaping.

The completed SS&W building, and first stages of construction of the Maintenance & Operations building, including shear wall installation. 
The completed SS&W building, and first stages of construction of the Maintenance & Operations building, including shear wall installation.

During Phase 1 of 2, a 28,000-square-foot Shops, Stores & Warehouse (SS&W) building was constructed along N. Tillamook Avenue. The building will provide space for staff offices and public meeting areas, craft workshops, materials and warehouse supplies storage area, and a loading dock. Bureau staff are now in the process of moving and organizing supplies and equipment onto new storage racks and shelving in the SS&W building.

Piles are driven, shear walls installed, foundation is poured, and steel frame are being installed on the Maintenance & Operations building. 
Piles are driven, shear walls installed, foundation is poured, and steel frame are being installed on the Maintenance & Operations building.

Exterior of Maintenance & Operations building, view from N Tillamook Street. 
Exterior of Maintenance & Operations building, view from N Tillamook Street.

Currently in Phase 2, crews are building a 38,000-square-foot Maintenance and Operations building that will provide office space and conference and training facilities. Progress is steady; the foundation has been poured, shear walls and steel framing installed, and the roof will be in place before the fall rains. This building is expected to be complete in fall 2016.

Employees discuss how to best organize supplies and equipment in the new small stores area.  Interior of main storeroom.
Left: Employees discuss how to best organize supplies and equipment in the new small stores area.
Right: Interior of main storeroom.

For additional information on the project, including photos, project background, and a detailed explanation of the two phases of work, visit

Terry Black
Public Information

Water Quality At Home: “Dirty” Water

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The City of Portland is fortunate to have a source water supply of such high quality that filtration is not required as part of the water treatment process. Like any unfiltered water supply, over time a very fine layer of sediment can deposit along the bottom of water distribution mains. This harmless natural sediment consists of organic material from the Bull Run watershed, and on rare occasions it can get stirred up and cause discolored water. When this happens, customers commonly describe their water as “dirty” or muddy in color. 

What causes a dirty water event?
Sediment can be stirred up when the direction or flow of water changes in the water mains. Common causes include hydrant use, hydrant replacement, valve turning, routine maintenance, firefighting, main breaks, or nearby construction. 

Is the water contaminated?  
There are no health hazards associated with the sediment in the water.  The sediment is always in our system but is only visible when a change in flow is enough to disturb the sediment.  Customers may choose to drink bottled water while they wait for the discoloration to clear.  

What should customers do if they experience “dirty” water?
In most cases the water will clear on its own within two hours or less. If your water is discolored:

  • Use the water to flush toilets, but avoid running the water through filters, hot water heaters, and washing machines.
  • Wait an hour for the system to settle, then run water at one tap for up to five minutes to see if it clears.  If it does not clear, wait another hour and try again. When the water runs clear, run water throughout the house to flush any sediment that may have been drawn into your pipes. 
  • If the water does not clear in a few hours, or if there is also a significant loss of pressure, call the Water Line at 503-823-7525
  • To help the Water Line monitor these events, customers can call and report a dirty water event as soon as they notice the discoloration.

To learn more about home water quality, visit or call the Water Line Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 503-823-7525. 

KT LaBadie
Water Quality

Join Our Team: Accountant II

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If you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you. The Portland Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs. 

The Portland Water Bureau currently employs approximately 600 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Current Job Available at the Water Bureau:

Accountant II  

  • Closing Date/Time: Monday, October 6, 2014 4:30 PM Pacific Time 
  • Salary: $25.60 - $32.23 Hourly
  • Job Type: Full Time
  • Location: Multiple Locations, Oregon 
  • The Position: The Accountant II performs a wide variety of accounting-related functions that involve interpretation and analysis, with a relatively high degree of independence. Responsibilities include analysis of accounts, funds, systems, reports, contracts, grant expenditures, and/or other information. Depending on assignment, Accountant II duties include analyzing financial transactions, performing operational and system audits to identify and recommend corrections; auditing transactions of others for adherence to accounting principles and policies; supporting management through preparation of reports, development of new processes and/or final projections; and providing budget support as needed. These positions may be required to lead, coach, monitor and motivate staff. A bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Business Administration is preferred.
  • Additional Job Information/Apply: Start here
  • Questions: Contact Allan Messer, Senior Human Resources Analyst with the Bureau of Human Resources, at or 503-823-6821.

Susan Bailey