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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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NEWS RELEASE 05/23/14: Boil Water Notice Issued for All Portland Water Bureau Customers and Some Affected Regional Water Providers

Water samples taken at three locations test positive over three-day period for bacteria.

The State of Oregon Health Authority’s Drinking Water Program has required the City of Portland to issue a Boil Water Notice for all Portland Water Bureau customers and some regional water providers.

Until further notice, all Portland Water Bureau customers and those in the affected areas should boil all tap water used for drinking, food preparation, tooth brushing and ice for at least one minute. Ice or any beverages prepared with un-boiled tap water on or after May 20 should be discarded. Detailed maps, fact sheets and additional information can be found on the Water Bureau’s website at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/boilwaternotice or by calling Customer Service at 503-823-7770.

In three separate incidents from May 20 to May 23, repeat water samples confirmed the presence of total coliform and E. coli in routine drinking water samples. The water samples that tested positive for bacteria were collected at the outlets of Mt. Tabor Reservoirs 1 and 5, and at the SE 2nd Avenue and Salmon Street water sampling station. Both reservoirs have been taken offline.

A press conference will be held at 12 noon today at the City of Portland Emergency Coordination Center, 9911 SE Bush Street in Portland.

All Portland Water Bureau customers are affected. Also affected are customers of the following water providers: 

  • Burlington Water District
  • City of Gresham (North of I-84)
  • Lake Grove Water District
  • Lorna Portland Water
  • Palatine Hill Water District
  • Rockwood Water District
  • Tigard Water Service Area (including Durham, King City and Bull Mountain)
  • Valley View Water District
  • West Slope Water District

“While we believe at this time that the potential health risk is relatively small, we take any contamination seriously and are taking every precaution to protect public health,” said Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff. 

Consuming boiled and bottled water will ensure public health protection until the Water Bureau can determine that the water system is clean of contamination through surveillance sampling. Customers will be notified when they no longer have to boil their water. The Portland Water Bureau is working with the Multnomah County Health Department to provide health-related information to the public.

“The chance of any health problems related to this water test result is low. If any problems occur, we would expect diarrhea,” said Dr. Paul Lewis, Interim Tri-County Health Officer. “We monitor cases of bacterial diarrhea and will be aware of any increase following this event.”

The Portland Water Bureau collects approximately 240 routine bacterial samples per month throughout the system. The test to determine the presence of bacteria takes about 18 hours. It is not unusual for one of these samples to test positive for bacteria. Samples to confirm possible contamination are collected immediately after an initial detection of the presence of bacteria in drinking water. Once the detection has been confirmed, public health officials recommend that the public boil all tap water before consuming.

Contamination can occur when there is a loss of water pressure, a pipe breaks, or conditions that expose drinking water to outside elements. The Portland Water Bureau is performing a full investigation to identify the cause of the contamination. However, it is not always possible to make an exact determination.

Customers can visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water/boilwaternoticeto determine if their home or business is in the Boil Water Notice area. The Boil Water Notice, fact sheets and contact information are provided on this same website. For more information, affected customers should contact the Portland Water Bureau Customer Service at 503-823-7770.

Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency. Follow updates on Twitter at #PDXBOIL.

Customer Service Walk-In Center Closed May 26

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The Portland Water Bureau's Customer Service Walk-In Center will be closed on Monday, May 26 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. 

The Walk-In Center, located on the first floor of the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Avenue, will reopen on Tuesday, May 27 at 8:00 AM. 

For your convenience you may pay your bill online, or pay by Visa or MasterCard by calling our automated payment system at 503-823-7770 and pressing 1.  You may also leave a payment in the night box located outside the front door at 1120 SW 5th Avenue Portland, OR 97204.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Customer Service

Join us for Cycle the Well Field on May 31

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What local resource is capable of producing close to 100 million gallons per day of high quality drinking water, is the second largest water source in the State of Oregon, and is used as a back up water supply for customers served by the Portland Water Bureau?

Answer: The Columbia South Shore Well Field! 

Columbia South Shore Well Field Groundwater Aquifers

The Columbia South Shore Well Field is a series of 27 water supply wells located between the Columbia River and I-84, and stretching from I-205 in Portland all the way to Troutdale. Groundwater from the well field is used to supplement water from the Bull Run watershed during turbidity events or hot summer weather when water demand is greatest.

Columbia South Shore Well Field

On Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 8:45 am to 1:30 pm, the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council invite you, your friends and family aged 12 and up to take part in a yearly bike tour of this resource during the “Cycle the Well Field” event. 

Learn about the history, safety and functionality of Portland's underground drinking water system while pedaling over relatively flat terrain at a slow/moderate pace. Helmets are required and light refreshments provided. Bring water and a lunch to enjoy at Blue Lake Park.

Cycle the Well Field participants

Advanced registration is required for this free event. Please contact Penny Beckwith, Columbia Slough Watershed Council Outreach Director, at 503-281-1132 or register online

Doug Wise
Groundwater Protection

Traffic Advisory 05/16/14: Water Project Construction to Impact SE 162nd Avenue at SE Division Street

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Official Traffic Advisory

As part of the new water reservoir project in Powell Butte Nature Park, starting on Monday, May 19, 2014, the contractor for the Portland Water Bureau will install a large underground pipe and valve vault in SE 162nd Avenue, immediately north of SE Division Street.

The work will require that the two north-bound lanes of SE 162nd Avenue be closed around the work zone. Traffic will be detoured at SE 148th and 174th Avenues. The east-bound left turn from south-bound SE 162nd Avenue and north-bound right turn lanes from SE Division Street onto SE 162nd Avenue will be closed.

The excavation will be adjacent to the Burgerville, near the northeast corner of SE Division Street at SE 162nd Avenue.

Access to the shopping center will not be impacted during construction. The work zone will be fenced for public safety. Typically, work hours are 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday. This work is slated for completion by September 2014.

For additional information, please visit the project web page at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/powellbutte.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Traffic Advisory 05/15/14: Section of NW Skyline Boulevard Reduced to One-Lane for Pipe Connection May 19-28, 2014

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A short stretch of NW Skyline Boulevard near NW Hawkins Street will be reduced to one lane of alternating traffic starting Monday, May 19 through Wednesday, May 28, 2014, from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Both traffic lanes will reopen when the work day ends. 

The Portland Water Bureau will be excavating a space under the westbound lane of NW Skyline Boulevard and then connecting a pipeline from the newly-constructed Forest Park Low Reservoir to the water system.

Flaggers will be stationed to pass traffic through safely. Motorists may experience a five to 10 minute delay and are reminded to stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly stop. Alternate routes are encouraged for motorists to avoid traffic delays. 

The pipe connection is part of the Water Bureau’s project to add a new 1.3 million gallon underground reservoir to better serve the current and future water needs of residents living at higher elevations in the Northwest Hills district. It will also help to improve water capacity for emergency fire protection. 

The project is scheduled for completion in early June 2014. For additional information, visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/forestparklowtank.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information