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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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Maintenance and Construction Crews in Your Neighborhood

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment


While walking, biking, or driving around Portland you may have noticed the Portland Water Bureau’s Maintenance and Construction teams working on hydrants or pipes underground. On any given day, the Portland Water Bureau’s Maintenance and Construction teams are working on a variety of projects to maintain our water infrastructure and ensure that we can depend on the continual delivery of safe drinking water. In the last fiscal year alone, crews completed more than 4,000 maintenance tasks.

So what exactly are they doing?

Repairing leaks and main breaks. Portlanders who notice issues with pipes or hydrants can report them to the Emergency Line at 503-823-4874, 24 hours, 7 days a week. Maintenance and Construction crews are on standby 24 hours a day to repair main breaks, which are more likely to occur during the winter season.

Replacing Aging and Obsolete Fire Hydrants. The City of Portland has more than 14,000 fire hydrants that are not only important fire suppression tools, they are also important portals for flushing, which helps us maintain and ensure water quality.  Currently we have many hydrants throughout the City which are more than 100 years old, and parts to repair them no longer exist!  Last year crews replaced more than 300 hydrants in the system and inspected or repaired another 2,500!

Replacing Water Mains. Portland Water Bureau proactively replaces our aging infrastructure, including replacing old water mains which are prone to breaks and leaks. In the last year, crews replaced more than 25,000 feet of old water mains.

Be our eyes and ears. If you notice leaking hydrants or broken water mains in your neighborhood, call the Emergency Line at 503-823-4874. If you experience discolored water or have questions about water pressure, contact the Water Line at 503-823-7525 or from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Explore Careers with the City of Portland

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

Who is invited: Job Seekers with Disabilities, Job Developers and Job Coaches
When: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12
How: Register at: 

Forum: The City of Portland, in partnership with Incight and Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services (OVRS), will host an informational and networking event to introduce job seekers with disabilities to career opportunities with the city.


  • 9 – 11:30 a.m. Welcome and Panel Discussions - Auditorium
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Job Fair - booths open for networking with city bureaus – Room C
  • 11:35 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Job Application Process Workshops – Room HR-1
  • 11:35 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Networking Tips (How to Network) – Room B

Where: The Portland Building, 1120 S.W. Fifth Ave Portland, OR 97204, Second Floor
Parking: Parking is available in lots and at meters. There will be no validation of parking.
Trimet: TriMet is a great option for this event. To map your route, visit the Trip Planner at
RSVP or Request Accommodation: Kali Giaritta,, 971-244-0305

Fire Prevention Week - Don’t Wait - Check the Date!

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

In 1920, shortly after the Great Chicago Fire, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record. From that day on, National Fire Prevention Day grew incrementally until it became a weeklong effort to inform the public about the importance of fire prevention.

Here are some Fire Prevention Day slogans from the past:

2016 Don’t Wait – Check the Date!

1942 Today Every Fire Helps Hitler

1943 Fires Fight for the Axis! (to emphasize home fire prevention)

1946 FIRE is the Silent Partner of Inflation

1953 Fire Feeds on Careless Deeds

1966-72 Fire Hurts

Today it is still important to take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of our friends, neighbors, and children. This year’s Fire Presentation Week has two focuses: replacing old fire alarms and installing home sprinkler systems.

Fire alarms in your home should be replaced every 10 years. To find out how old the smoke alarms in your building are, remove the alarm from the wall and turn over to find the manufacture date. Alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date.

Portland Water Bureau encourages Portlanders in both new and old homes to consider installing sprinkler systems. Smoke alarms are crucial in cutting the risk of dying in a home fire, but with the addition of sprinklers, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut by an astounding 80 percent. Sprinklers may even limit the amount of water damage in a home—movies and TV have perpetuated the myth that all sprinklers will come on at once, but the truth is 85 percent of the time only one sprinkler will activate during a fire. Since sprinklers use significantly less water than a fire hose, water damage is notably reduced.

This fire prevention week, everyone has a role to play. Check your smoke alarms, look into home sprinkler systems, and make sure you have an action plan in your home and your work place in case of a fire.

A Fresh Look at Maintaining Portland's Water Supply

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

Don't miss this Op-Ed that was published in the Oregonian on Sunday, Oct. 9 by Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish and Portland Water Bureau Administrator Michael Stuhr.

Portlanders are justifiably proud of their drinking water. The Bull Run Watershed is the envy of the nation, storing 10 billion gallons of pristine water. The Portland Water Bureau delivers clean, safe and reliable water to almost 1 million people. And our abundant supply of water is, and will continue to be, one of our region's competitive advantages.

Water quality and safety have become high-profile issues for many Americans. From Salem to Newark, families are asking questions about lead in their drinking water. Locally, the Water Bureau is deeply committed to protecting public health and safety; we have been for a long time.

Here's how we know your water is safe.

First, we've never used lead service lines and don't have lead pipes in our distribution system.

Second, we are in compliance with all state and federal regulations, including the Lead and Copper Rule. We publish our water quality testing results in an annual water quality report, which is posted online at the Water Bureau website.

Third, we partner with the Multnomah County Health Department to monitor and protect public health. One of their roles is to test children for lead. In 15,000 tests conducted over the past three years, none of the 188 cases of elevated blood lead levels were attributed to water.

As a public health agency, we're always evaluating our system to see whether we can do more. Twenty years ago, City Council adopted the Lead Hazard Reduction Program. The goal: to reduce lead exposure from all sources in our community. Our approach includes free lead-test kits, community education, funding for lead paint removal in homes, and chemical treatment of our water.

Bull Run water is naturally "soft." That means when our water interacts with lead in bad pipes, faucets and sinks, they can corrode and potentially leach lead. That's why Congress has banned lead in solder and plumbing, and why we add sodium hydroxide to adjust the pH level of our water. This balanced approach has substantially reduced exposure to lead in drinking water. And in our semi-annual tests of Portland's highest-risk homes, lead levels have exceeded the EPA's action level only once since 2006.

Can we do more? With big changes underway in our system, including the decommissioning of our open-air reservoirs, we have an opportunity to take a fresh look at our treatment options.

In 2014, the bureau launched a corrosion study. Data from the study will provide us with the information we need to weigh options for potential changes to our water. When the study is completed, the Water Bureau will report the findings to its regulators at the Oregon Health Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency. Any recommendations to adjust the chemistry of our water will be submitted to the City Council for consideration in 2017.

This Tuesday, in a work session, the Water Bureau will brief the City Council on its work so far, and lay out a roadmap for future decision-making. The meeting at City Hall begins at 9:30 a.m. and is open to the public.

The Portland Water Bureau has delivered clean and safe water for over 100 years. We are proud to lead a team of professionals dedicated to public health and safety. As we make important decisions about the future of our Bull Run water, we will be guided by good science and Portland values.

Nick Fish is a Portland City Commissioner and Michael Stuhr is director of the Portland Water Bureau.

Let’s Talk Toilet

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

The most common place to find a water leak in a home or business is the toilet.  While it might seem like a minor problem, toilets can waste lots of water over time, affecting the environment and your pocketbook.

It’s a good idea to check your toilet for leaks a few times a year. To check for leaks, add 10 drops of food coloring inside your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the dye color shows up in your toilet bowl, you have a leak. Watch a short video on how to check for leaks -

Leaks can often be fixed by do-it-yourselfers using inexpensive replacement parts. Check out this short video on how to repair a leaky toilet from our partners at the Regional Water Providers Consortium:

Consider replacing older or leaking toilets, which can use up to four times more water per flush. The Portland Water Bureau currently offers a $50 rebate for replacing an old toilet or urinal with a high-efficiency model. Commercial, residential and multifamily properties are eligible.  The old toilet or urinal MUST be recycled at an approved recycling center. For complete rebate details visit: