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Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Education

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Portland's Riverdale High School Students Immerse Themselves in Worldwide Water Issues

Two years ago, Riverdale High School in SW Washington started a science and service learning elective called H2O. The 12-week course included studying a wide range of student-generated water-related topics and raising money to benefit a school in Kenya in need of a clean, constant water supply. Riverdale continued the elective class in 2010 and the money fundraised will benefit Ruhaama Primary School in Uganda.

As part of learning about water issues, the students embarked on a number of educational tours of Portland's municipal water system, including a tour of the Bull Run watershed and a walking tour of downtown fountains.

Learn more about Riverdale's studies on their creative blog: http://h2oforlifeschools.blogspot.com/2010/11/riverdale-high-school-wow-lots-of-great.html

Benson Bubblers

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Water Bureau Shuts Off Benson Bubblers Due to Freezing Weather

 

In response to weather predictions of high winds and freezing temperatures in the coming days, the Water Bureau will begin turning off the free flowing fountains throughout the water system today.

High winds can create hazardous, slippery conditions on city sidewalks for pedestrians when the drinking fountains are flowing freely. The wind blows the water onto the pavement and sidewalks to form ice.

The Water Bureau will return the drinking fountains to normal service when weather conditions have moderated. If it is still cold and windy, the fountains will remain off until it is safe to return them to service.

This is also a good time to check your pipes to prevent freezing.

Info and News

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Protect Your Plumbing: Freezing Weather Can Mean Frozen Pipes

 

Cold, freezing weather is on its way -- and each time Portland endures this type of weather, some water pipes freeze up.

Here are the basics on preventing freezing pipes:

Frozen pipes can be a costly mistake.

Outside plumbing

Caulk around pipes where they enter the house. Close all foundation vents. (Open foundation vents are probably the greatest cause of frozen or split water lines.) Cut wood or styrofoam blocks to fit vent openings, then slide them into the vents. (Styrofoam is available at hardware stores or from insulation suppliers.) Open the vents again in the spring to prevent dry rot.

Protect outside pipes and faucets. In some homes, the outside faucet has a separate shut-off in the basement. If you have a separate valve for outside faucets, shut if off. Then go outside and turn on all the faucets to drain water in the lines. Leave the outside faucets on while you go back and check your outside shut-off valve for a small brass plug or cap on the valve. Turn this plug far enough that water drains from the valve. Then, tighten the plug back and turn off all the outside faucets.

Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs. Do this if you don't have a separate valve to turn off outside faucets. (Also remember to disconnect garden hoses.) Use newspaper or rags covered with plastic, fiberglass or molded foam insulating covers to wrap the faucet. (Molded foam insulating covers are available at plumbing and hardware stores.)

Drain in-ground sprinkler systems. Check manufacturer's instructions for the best way to do this.

Indoor plumbing

Insulate pipes in unheated areas such as the crawl space, attic, garage or basement. Use insulating tape or molded pipe sleeve and wrap it over the entire length of exposed pipe. Cover all valves, pipe-fittings, etc. with insulating tape or fiberglass. (Check your hardware store for supplies.)

Shut off and drain your water system if you are leaving home for several days. (Turn off the water heater before draining the system.) Leaving your furnace on a low setting while you're gone helps, but may not prevent freezing. Turn off the main shut-off valve, then go through the house and turn on all faucets, sinks, tubs, showers, etc., and flush the toilets. Go back to the valve and remove the plug so that it can drain completely. Follow-up by re-tightening the valve and turning off the open faucets.

Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. Water lines supplying the kitchen or bathrooms are frequently located in outside walls. Any air leaks in siding or insulation can cause these pipes to freeze. Leaving the cupboard doors open when the temperature is below freezing allows pipes behind the cupboards to get more heat.

Let the water run if the temperature dips below freezing. (A stream slightly smaller than a pencil width should be sufficient.) Faucets farthest from the street should be the ones left running. Using cold water will save on your gas or electric bill.

Maintenance & Construction

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All Weather Workers

It's chilly and blustery out on the streets of Portland, and our utility workers are prepared to get the work done no matter what the weather or time of day (or night).

On any given day the Portland Water Bureau has utility workers and other staff in the Maintenance & Construction division spread out across our distribution system doing any of the following activities:

  • installing, maintaining, and repairing pipes, meter yokes, meters, meter boxes gate valves, fire hydrants, concrete vaults and other water system components;
  • operating a variety of equipment and machinery;
  • and performing continuous and strenuous manual labor, including frequent heavy lifting in all kinds of weather.

If they're doing work in your neighborhood, feel free to ask one of them what they're working on.

If you're driving by, watch out for orange traffic cones and flaggers. There's a lot of street construction going on at any given time in Portland right now, and when it's particularly foggy or dark, slow down and "Give 'em a brake." It might be inconvenient at times, but remember - they're working on your water system!

Conservation

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Mark your calendars for Upcoming Fix-It Fairs

The City of Portland’s 24th annual Fix-It Fair season will kick off this month. Fix-It Fairs are free events where you can learn simple and effective ways to save money at home this winter and stay healthy. The events feature exhibits from numerous community partners and an extensive schedule of workshops held throughout the day. Experts will be available to talk with you about water and energy savings, home and personal health, food and nutrition, community resources, recycling and yard care, lead testing, bike tune-ups and more!

At each Fair the Portland Water Bureau will be teaching a class about how to identify and fix leaks, and staffing a booth with free giveaways.  Our staff can advise you on ways to save water and lower your bill.  Stop by our table, and we'll have a number of free devices on hand, from low-flow kitchen aerators to toilet leak detection tablets.


Portland Water Bureau customers can get information and free devices at any time by calling (503) 823-4527, or ordering online at www.portlandonline.com/water/conservation

Special workshops taught in Spanish are offered at the Ron Russell Fair. Free professional childcare and lunch is provided at all Fairs.

 The 2010 – 2011 Fix-It Fair schedule:

Saturday, November 20, 2010
Ron Russell Middle School

¡Clases en español!

3955 SE 112th Avenue
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Saturday, January 22, 2011
Parkrose High School

12003 NE Shaver Street
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. 


Saturday, February 26, 2011
Jefferson High School

5210 N Kerby Avenue
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

To find out more information about scheduled workshops, visit www.portlandonline.com/bps/fif

To receive information and reminders on upcoming fairs, e-mail fixitfair@portlandoregon.gov.   

The Fix-It Fairs are presented by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability with support from the following sponsors: Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power, Portland Housing Bureau and Portland General Electric.