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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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Water Quality Inspectors Protect Water System

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Oregon Health Authority rules and City of Portland codes require backflow assemblies to be installed on a variety of different types of water services. Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow of a liquid, gas or solid into the potable water supply. 

This requirement is an effort to protect our water system from potential contamination and/or pollution that a user might otherwise be able to introduce back into our system via backflow through their water service. 

Activating & testing a backflow assembly installation 
A water quality inspector II activates and tests a new parallel Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly installation on the Oregon Zoo main water supply.

Supporting this effort, Portland Water Bureau's water quality inspection staff review all commercial building plans submitted for building permit application.  During this review, each project’s water use and needs are assessed and an appropriate approved backflow assembly is required to be installed on each water service where warranted.  Additionally, on each new water service sold where backflow protection is required, water quality inspectors will inspect the new installation for compliance with State and City codes.

Activating a new fire sprinkler water service  
A new fire sprinkler water service to the Multnomah County Sherriff boat and ramp facility on NE Marine Drive was activated.

Currently, water quality inspection staff and those from other groups maintain a database of nearly 35,000 individual backflow prevention assemblies installed throughout the city.

It’s National Drinking H2O Week! Do You Know Where Your H2O Comes From?

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What do you know about your H2O?

People cannot live without water, but we often take it for granted. Are you curious about where your water comes from?

From the Source Waters to Your Tap
To reach Portlander’s taps, water flows from reservoirs on the Bull Run River and from the aquifers of the Columbia South Shore Well Field, through a complex system of pipes, valves, pumps, storage tanks, distribution reservoirs, and meters. The Bull Run River is the primary source of drinking water for Portland Water Bureau customers. The Columbia South Shore Well Field is a supplemental and emergency source. The two sources ensure reliable year-round delivery of water. 

Interested in learning more about Portland’s water sources? Take a look at our Discover Your Drinking Water brochure in both English and Spanish.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Public Meetings set for May 6 and June 11 on the Proposed Mt. Tabor Reservoir Project

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In order to satisfy an unfunded federal water quality mandate, the City of Portland is required to disconnect Portland’s open air reservoirs, including three at Mt. Tabor Park. This work is proposed to begin in early 2015.

On Tuesday, May 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Warner Pacific College, 2219 SE 68th Avenue in the McGuire Auditorium, the Portland Water Bureau will host the first of two public meetings. You are invited to attend and learn more about the scope of the proposed project inside the park and on SE Lincoln Street, and ask questions and offer feedback.

The second public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 11, also at Warner Pacific College at 6:30 to 8:30 pm in McGuire Auditorium.

These public meetings will focus only on the proposed work to decommission the open reservoirs. There will be a separate public involvement process on the future of the reservoir sites at a later date.

The public is also welcome to learn even more about the proposed project by taking part in a guided walking tour with Water Bureau staff, or a self-guided tour.  The tours are free; space is limited to a maximum 20 people on each tour date and reservations are required. Learn more and make reservations here.

To share information, the Portland Water Bureau has developed a project website that includes:

Visit or contact the Water Bureau Public Information staff at 503-823-6926.

Forest Park Low Tank Project in the Homestretch

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Forest Park Low Tank Aerial Photo - January 2014 
Forest Park Low Tank Aerial Photo in January 2014

The Portland Water Bureau is completing construction on a 1.3-million gallon reinforced-concrete underground drinking water tank and a 1,408 square-foot pump station in northwest Portland. Identified in the city’s water system as the Forest Park Low Tank, the 73-foot diameter tank and adjacent pump station are part of an overall plan to better serve the current and future water needs of residents.  The tank will serve homes at higher elevations in the area and improve water capacity for emergency fire protection. 

Forest Park Low Tank - Aerial Photos in February, July and October 2013
Forest Park Low Tank aerial photos in February, July and October 2013 

The tank, built 41-feet deep into the ground, is being backfilled, covered, and compacted with layers of soil. Eventually native grasses will completely cover the tank. Over the next couple weeks, crews will fill, test and then disinfect the tank before it is connected to the operating water system.

The intricate system of piping running from the tank and connecting to the water main under NW Skyline Boulevard has been installed. The pipelines will soon undergo pressure testing to ensure the integrity and soundness of the pipes and joints within the pipeline. 

The walls and floor of the pump station have been constructed. Using gravel, crews have backfilled around the rectangular-shaped pump station.

The project is scheduled for completion in late May 2014. For additional information, visit the project webpage.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Guided Walking Tours Offered of Proposed Work Areas in Mt. Tabor Park

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In order to satisfy an unfunded federal water quality mandate, the City of Portland is required to disconnect Portland’s open air reservoirs, including three at Mt. Tabor Park. This work is proposed to begin in early 2015. 

During April and May, the Portland Water Bureau is offering guided walking tours of the proposed work areas in Mt. Tabor Park. Lasting one hour, the tours – conducted by Water Bureau staff – point out work areas and explain the proposed project’s scope.

This tour is related only to the work to decommission the open reservoirs. There will be a separate public process on the future of the reservoir sites at a later date.

The tours are free and space is limited to 20 people each tour. Reservations are required.

Guided walking tour reservations can be made in two ways:

1.  Sign up using the online reservation form.
2.  Contact the Public Information Group at 503-823-6926, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

If you make a reservation by phone, please make sure to state your name, provide your contact information, include two walking tour dates options, and note any special accommodations or considerations the Water Bureau needs to be aware of before you arrive to participate in a tour.

The walking tours, conducted rain or shine, will meet at the park entrance at SE Lincoln Street, east of SE 60th Avenue. The tour will walk to Reservoir 1 and 5, and then down the stairs to Reservoir 6. Participants are encouraged to arrive five minutes before the one-hour guided tour is scheduled to begin. Please wear sturdy walking shoes as the some of the path is uneven, and a hat and water bottle are encouraged.

'In-car' tours are available upon request for people with disabilities. Please contact the Water Bureau no later than five (5) business days prior to the tour date by phone at 503-823-6926.

Tour Schedule:

·  Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

·  Thursday May 1, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

·  Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

·  Thursday, May 8, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

·  Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

·  Sunday, May 11, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Self-Guided Tours
The public can also visit the proposed work areas in Mt. Tabor Park using the self-guided tour brochure with map

Proposed Project Information