GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
UPDATE -- TRAFFIC ADVISORY 12/12/13: Water Main Break Repair Completed on SW Vista Avenue; Service to Ainsworth Elementary and Affected Customers Restored
A Portland Water Bureau crew completed repairs on a broken water main on SW Vista Avenue between SW Elm Street and SW Spring Street and restored water service to affected residents and Ainsworth Elementary School today just after 12:00 noon.
Crews are preparing the site for restoration and detours will be lifted this afternoon.
The Water Bureau was notified of the main break at approximately midnight. The Water Bureau’s Urgent Response personnel responded immediately to the site and partially closed valves to reduce the flow of water through the main, limiting any potential damage the water could cause. The area was blocked off for safety and traffic re-routed while a complete crew was called in from their homes. Other utilities were contacted, including PGE and NW Natural Gas, to ensure that excavating the break area in the street would not damage other services or endanger bureau staff or the public. The repair crew arrived on site at approximately 2:00 am.
Just after 5:15 am this morning, the Water Bureau crew successfully excavated and exposed the break, which revealed that the 8-inch cast iron main—which was installed in 1927— had broken vertically and also horizontally down the length of the pipe. The nature of the break and its repair required a shutdown of the main, and a temporary loss of water service to nearby customers, including Ainsworth Elementary School.
After notifying affected customers and shutting off their water service at each meter in the shutdown area, the crew cut out and replaced an 8-foot section of damaged pipe, backfilled the excavation with several dump truck loads of rock, thoroughly flushed the affected main and then restored service to affected customers by 12:15 pm today.
The Water Bureau crew will prepare the backfilled excavation to be safe for traffic until a Portland Bureau of Transportation crew can complete the restoration of the street.
Customers in the immediate area are encouraged to flush taps as a precaution.
During this winter weather, Water Bureau crews have responded to hundreds of calls for service. Crews, including the one that responded to this morning’s main break, are ready to respond 24-hours a day, seven days a week to water emergencies.
If customers do experience water quality or pressure issues, contact the Water Quality Line at 503-823-7525. To report a main break or other water-related emergency, please notify the Water Bureau’s 24/7 emergency hotline at 503-823-4874.
Portland Water Bureau crews have responded to a main break on SW Vista Avenue between SW Elm Street and SW Spring Street.
Just after midnight, an eight-inch cast iron main installed in 1927 ruptured causing water to flow into the street. At this time, water to the broken pipe has been shutdown.
No flooding damage has been reported. However, water pressure is affected in the immediate area.
SW Vista Avenue, a residential street, between SW Elm Street and SW Spring Street is closed except to local residents. Traffic will be detoured around the work zone. Due to the water main break, Ainsworth Elementary School, located at 2425 SW Vista Avenue, will be closed Thursday, December 12, 2013.
Crews will be on-scene until work is completed.
The Water Bureau's Maintenance & Construction crews are called out at all hours day and night to repair broken water mains, an average of 200 times a year.
In Portland, cast iron water mains tend to break during the colder times of the year. Cold water can cause pipes to become more brittle. Adding cold air temperatures at or below freezing can cause the ground above a pipe to freeze, thereby increasing external stress on a pipe. Temperature can be just one factor in causing a main break; the age of the pipe, soil conditions, pipe corrosion and ground movement can cause a main to weaken over time and break.
As a result of the recent freezing temperatures in the Portland metro area, Portland Water Bureau crews have been busy repairing frozen water meters and broken water pipes to homes and businesses.
Ty Kovatch, the Water Bureau’s Maintenance & Construction Director, said that since the freezing temperatures began late last week, crews have responded to more than 500 calls for service, including a high number of residential plumbing issues requiring our crews to provide emergency shut-offs at the residential meter.
Customers can notify the Water Bureau using the 24/7 emergency hotline at 503-823-4874. If you observe a broken water main, have no water service or have other urgent water problems, contact the Water Bureau immediately.
During the lengthy period of below freezing temperatures, many calls for service are being received after hours.
To ensure all reported water issues were quickly assessed, a team of dedicated professionals staffed the Water Bureau Dispatch center throughout the day and night and worked diligently to deploy crews immediately out to water emergencies.
Water Main Break in NE Portland
"Crews have been working over the weekend and after hours,” reports Kovatch. “In fact, over the weekend there were close to 400 calls, including six (6) main breaks, four (4) of which occurred on Friday night alone and a high volume of residential plumbing issues which we help with by shutting off water at the meter.”
As the weather begins to warm and frozen pipes begin to thaw, the Water Bureau expects an increase in the number of calls for service.
“Freezing temperatures like we have had over the past week generate a lot of challenges throughout our large system as well as a lot of challenges for homeowners that we respond to,” said Kovatch, “We also expect additional issues to appear as the temperature warms back up, and we will continue our enhanced response until weather conditions return to normal.”
If customers experience a broken pipe, contact the Water Bureau’s 24/7 Emergency Hotline and ask for assistance in shutting off the main water supply to the house at the street.
The Water Bureau reminds customers that the best way to handle any sort of water emergency in your home including broken pipes is to be prepared before it happens. Taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the plumbing system in your home and note the location of all shut off valves are important steps in preventing a plumbing emergency from turning into a disaster. During periods with temperatures below freezing, it is also a good idea to put insulated covers around your hose bibs, and leave water faucets running at a trickle during evening hours and when no one is home using the water.
NOTIFICATION: The Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) Meeting on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM has been cancelled. Please direct any questions to Tim Hall, Public Information Manager, at 503-823-6926 or 503-381-0056.
Just over this past weekend, Portland Water Bureau crews responded to over 200 calls from customers concerned about no water service. Crews determined that most of these calls where related to frozen pipes inside the home.
The Portland Water Bureau wants to remind our customers that they can themselves take steps to reduce the possibility of frozen pipes:
The Portland Water Bureau is dedicated to providing Portland with a safe and reliable water supply. Maintenance & Construction crews are on standby, ready to respond 24-hours a day, seven days a week to repair broken water mains and address water emergencies.
Customers that experience urgent water problems should call the Portland Water Bureau’s 24/7 emergency hotline at 503-823-4874.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Portland Building, including the 1st floor Portland Water Bureau Customer Service Walk-In Center, has re-opened as of 8:00 am on Wednesday, December 11, 2013.
Thank you for your patience and we apologize for the inconvenience.
Monday, December 9, 2013
The Portland Building, including the 1st floor Portland Water Bureau Customer Service Walk-In Center, will be closed until 8:00 am on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 due to a power outage.
Until power is restored, you are invited to pay your bill in the following ways:
Customers that experience urgent water problems should call the Portland Water Bureau's 24/7 emergency hotline at 503-823-4874.
Please check back on the Water Bureau's website for updates. We apologize for the inconvenience.