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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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City Rate Review Meeting Follow-Up Now Available

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On March 19, 2014, the City of Portland invited members of the community to the first ever City Utility Rate Review meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss drinking water and sewer-storm water rates. Mayor Charlie Hales, City Council members, and management staff from both the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services were on hand to answer questions and discuss the combined 4.92 percent rate increase proposed by the City’s two utility bureaus.

Portlanders in attendance were invited to provide feedback and pose questions to the Council. At the conclusion of the hearing, city staff committed to providing follow-up answers by Wednesday, April 9, 2014.

Responses to those questions can be accessed, read, and printed here.


Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Children’s Clean Water Festival - Teaching the Next Generation

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Jason Lee Elementary students learn about salmon life cycles. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandberg. 
Jason Lee Elementary students learn about salmon life cycles. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandberg.

Each year the Portland Water Bureau co-sponsors the Children’s Clean Water Festival, a one-day environmental education event for 4th and 5th grade students from around the Portland Metro area. This year, the 21st annual Children's Clean Water Festival was held on March 11th at the University of Portland with more than 1,500 children attending. 

The goal of the festival was to teach children that they are capable of having real, long-lasting, positive impacts on water resources, and to equip them with the information they need to do that in a fun and engaging way.

Kids explore a well drilling rig. 
Kids explore a well drilling rig.

Every 25 minutes, class groups moved from one event to another according to their personalized schedule. Classroom presenters, stage shows and exhibitors set up in the morning and classes rotated through their presentations throughout the day.

Staff from the Water Bureau acted as class guides, teaching classes on topics such as groundwater, how to build a water main, water tasting, and coordinating the "Think Like a Fish" booth - a high energy, interactive exhibit that taught kids about the flow, temperature and habitat needs for salmon and steelhead in rivers. 

Jason Lee Elementary students learn about stormwater run off. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandberg. 
Jason Lee Elementary students learn about stormwater run off. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandberg.

The Water Efficiency Group in Resource Protection and Planning coordinate the Water Bureau’s participation in the event every year. Other sponsors include the Bureau of Land Management, City of Hillsboro, City of Tigard, Clean Water Services, Oak Lodge Sanitary District, Regional Water Providers Consortium, Rockwood Water People’s Utility District, and the Tualatin Valley Water District.

Terry Black
Public Information

Keep Your Water Meter Accessible & Clear of Debris

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Keep plants, bark mulch, and garbage cans clear of your water meter.

Meter readers from the Portland Water Bureau read your water meter monthly or quarterly to collect your water consumption for billing purposes. If the area around your water meter is clear, our meter readers can quickly and accurately collect your meter reading information on the first visit to your property. Every day, meter readers visit more than 500 meters, and keeping the area clean and clear helps them do their job efficiently.

Unfortunately, if your meter is obstructed by objects such as cars, trailers, trash cans and recycling bins, landscape bark or gravel, a meter reader will have to return to your property to read your meter. You will first receive a friendly reminder in the mail; if your meter continues to be inaccessible, you may be charged a fee if staff needs to return to re-read or if we need to hire someone to remove the obstruction.

By keeping your meter box clear, you can avoid this charge. Additionally, a clear box makes it easy to ensure that the lid fits properly, is safe and can be quickly turned off in an emergency.

Here are some tips to maintain clear access to your water meter:

Trees, Bushes and Plantings

  • Trim bushes, trees and grass that block the way or cover the meter.
  • Minimize plants in the area which meter readers must travel to get to your meter.
  • Remove all branches hanging lower than six feet over the meter box.


  • Keep pets away from the path that leads to your meter.
  • If you have a guard dog for security, please let us know so that we can make sure that our meter readers and other utility personnel are aware of this. We may ask that you arrange to confine the dog during the day that your meter will be read.

Please also ensure your house address is clearly displayed on your residence. This also assists emergency personnel who may need to find your home in a hurry.

Click here for additional information and resources or contact Customer Service at 503-823-7770. Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Hood National Forest Bull Run Working Group Meeting

The public is invited to attend the Portland Water Bureau/ Mt. Hood National Forest Bull Run Working Group meeting on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 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. An agenda can be viewed and downloaded here

Management staff from the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt. Hood National Forest with responsibilities in the Bull Run Watershed, Portland’s primary drinking water source, meet semi-annually each year. The purpose of these meetings is to review implementation of the 20 year stewardship agreement signed by both agencies in 2007.  An Annual Report is presented at the spring meeting.

For more information about the 20-year stewardship agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt. Hood National Forest, please go to or

For more information about the meeting, please contact Terry Black, Portland Water Bureau, at 503-823-1168.

New Burlingame Tank’s Replacement and Upgraded RTU System

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Instrumentation technician works on the new Burlingame Tank’s replacement and upgraded RTU system.

The Portland Water Bureau uses Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) to remotely control pumps, instruments, analyzers, security sensors, and other process controls within the water system. This programmable industrial electronic device allows system operators to remotely make adjustments to control operations such as how much water goes where and when within the distribution system, and the level of the gates atBull Rundam. As do most water utilities in the country, the Water Bureau uses Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) to monitor and control the water system.

Burlingame Tank’s replacement and upgraded RTU system.

There are 178 RTUs in use at sites throughout the system. The RTUs are maintained by Instrumentation Shop technicians who are part of the Operations Group. Since 1999, technicians have replaced 150 of the obsolete RTU models that were installed in the 1980s. These older RTU’s are no longer supported and replacement parts are no longer manufactured. The last of this model RTU (SAGE) located at the Burlingame Tank site was recently replaced, which is a significant milestone for the Instrument Shop. 

The Instrument Shop technicians continue to actively upgrade older RTUs when possible. These upgrades improve reliability, communications speed, standardization, and system security.

Terry Black
Public Information