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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 At Home: “Dirty” Water

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The City of Portland is fortunate to have a source water supply of such high quality that filtration is not required as part of the water treatment process. Like any unfiltered water supply, over time a very fine layer of sediment can deposit along the bottom of water distribution mains. This harmless natural sediment consists of organic material from the Bull Run watershed, and on rare occasions it can get stirred up and cause discolored water. When this happens, customers commonly describe their water as “dirty” or muddy in color. 

What causes a dirty water event?
Sediment can be stirred up when the direction or flow of water changes in the water mains. Common causes include hydrant use, hydrant replacement, valve turning, routine maintenance, firefighting, main breaks, or nearby construction. 

Is the water contaminated?  
There are no health hazards associated with the sediment in the water.  The sediment is always in our system but is only visible when a change in flow is enough to disturb the sediment.  Customers may choose to drink bottled water while they wait for the discoloration to clear.  

What should customers do if they experience “dirty” water?
In most cases the water will clear on its own within two hours or less. If your water is discolored:

  • Use the water to flush toilets, but avoid running the water through filters, hot water heaters, and washing machines.
  • Wait an hour for the system to settle, then run water at one tap for up to five minutes to see if it clears.  If it does not clear, wait another hour and try again. When the water runs clear, run water throughout the house to flush any sediment that may have been drawn into your pipes. 
  • If the water does not clear in a few hours, or if there is also a significant loss of pressure, call the Water Line at 503-823-7525
  • To help the Water Line monitor these events, customers can call and report a dirty water event as soon as they notice the discoloration.

To learn more about home water quality, visit or call the Water Line Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 503-823-7525. 

KT LaBadie
Water Quality

Join Our Team: Accountant II

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If you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you. The Portland Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs. 

The Portland Water Bureau currently employs approximately 600 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Current Job Available at the Water Bureau:

Accountant II  

  • Closing Date/Time: Monday, October 6, 2014 4:30 PM Pacific Time 
  • Salary: $25.60 - $32.23 Hourly
  • Job Type: Full Time
  • Location: Multiple Locations, Oregon 
  • The Position: The Accountant II performs a wide variety of accounting-related functions that involve interpretation and analysis, with a relatively high degree of independence. Responsibilities include analysis of accounts, funds, systems, reports, contracts, grant expenditures, and/or other information. Depending on assignment, Accountant II duties include analyzing financial transactions, performing operational and system audits to identify and recommend corrections; auditing transactions of others for adherence to accounting principles and policies; supporting management through preparation of reports, development of new processes and/or final projections; and providing budget support as needed. These positions may be required to lead, coach, monitor and motivate staff. A bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Business Administration is preferred.
  • Additional Job Information/Apply: Start here
  • Questions: Contact Allan Messer, Senior Human Resources Analyst with the Bureau of Human Resources, at or 503-823-6821.

Susan Bailey

Look for Weird, Wonderful and Water-Wise Plants at the Hardy Plant Society’s Fall Plant Fest on September 20!

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While it can be hard to let go of summer, one of the best things about fall is that it is the perfect time to make changes to your garden. Planting in the fall is an easy water-wise gardening technique which maximizes the winter rains to help establish new plants. This coming weekend, the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon will be celebrating the advance of autumn with their fall PlantFest. The sale features over 20 specialty nurseries and many specialize in water-efficient plants. 

Hardy Plant Society of Oregon
The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, is a non-profit volunteer organization with over 2300 members promoting education around a wide range of plants and gardening techniques.

WHEN: Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9 a.m. Attendees can begin shopping at the plant sale at 10 a.m. Everyone, including the general public is welcome to shop from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

WHERE: PCC Rock Creek, 17705 NW Springville Road, Portland OR, 97229

ADMISSION:  Learn more and register for the event here.

Sarah Santner
Water Efficiency

Water main work will close northbound lane of SW Terwilliger Blvd. north of SW Capitol Hwy. overnight this weekend

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A contractor for the Portland Water Bureau will work overnight on Friday and Saturday, September 19 and 20, on SW Terwilliger Boulevard, approximately 200 feet north of the intersection of SW Capitol Highway. 

Work in the road will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 19 and end at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 20. If necessary, work will resume for a second night on Saturday, September 20 at 8:00 p.m. and end early Sunday morning, September 21.

The northbound lane will be closed for approximately 200 feet and flaggers will direct traffic around the construction zone. The night work is required by the Portland Bureau of Transportation in order to maintain two lane access to Oregon Health Science University during week days.

Project information can be found online at

Terry Black

Public Outreach


Improving Water Reliability in the SW Hills of Portland

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Two important capital improvement projects are being conducted in the Southwest Hills of Portland this summer to strengthen the reliability of the water supply in the Bertha Service Area (BSA). While fairly straightforward, these projects present challenges due to the impacts on the neighborhoods and traffic in the area. The contractors and the Water Bureau’s Maintenance & Construction crews are also challenged working on narrow, aging streets.

Bertha Service Area Improvement Project
The BSA Improvement project interconnects two pressure zone systems that increase the reliability of the systems and provide a secondary, back-up service for the pressure zones. This project will also replace existing 4-inch galvanized main with a new 8-inch main.  For project updates and the construction schedule, visit


SW Carolina Pump Mains-Phase 2
Just down the hill, Phase 2 of the SW Carolina Pump Mains Project is also underway. The objective for both Phases 1 and 2 is to interconnect the Fulton Pump Station to the Burlingame Tank system, and the Carolina Pump Station to the Westwood Tank System. This increases the reliability of the Burlingame Service Area.


Contractors are installing 3,400 feet of new 24-inch diameter transmission line, which will tie into the existing 24-inch Carolina Pump Main. In addition, a magnetic meter and vault and intertie vault will be installed. For additional information on the project, including traffic alerts and detours, visit the project webpage at

Terry Black
Public Information