GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
With the temperature on the chilly side, thinking about water (the non-frozen variety) isn't high on the agenda for most people. But we always need drinking water — and clean drinking water at that.
In Portland we are blessed with an abundance of water that most of us take for granted. This is the season of thinking about what we will do in the new year to be and do better. How about reducing your water footprint? Here are a few suggestions:
The list goes on.
So think about what could work for you and make a commitment to do at least one thing this coming year.
The Portland Water Bureau works year-round to deliver high quality drinking water to its customers. One of the regular maintenance tasks that occurs throughout the city, neighborhood by neighborhood, is unidirectional flushing or UDF.
Unfiltered systems like Portland need to routinely clean the network of pipes to improve water quality. Over time, very fine sediment and organic matter from the Bull Run settle out of the water and accumulate in the bottom of the pipes. Unidirectional flushing gets those sediments out by forcing water in the pipes to flow at much higher speeds than normal. Flushing crews temporarily close valves to isolate sections of pipe creating one-way flow and increased velocity, then the water and any sediments in the pipes are flushed out through an open fire hydrant.
The UDF crew has finished flushing in the northwest heights and parts of Forest Park neighborhoods. The area served was roughly from NW Lambert St south to Cornell Rd and Skyline Blvd/Ramsey west to Mill Pond Rd. More than 15 miles of 4, 6 and 8 inch water mains were flushed in under four months by a two person crew.
So far this year, more than 43 miles of water mains have been flushed in southwest and northwest Portland neighborhoods.
Click on the map image to view a downloadable pdf format of the map.
In order to comply with federal and state mandates, and ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system, the Water Bureau is moving forward with a project to update the Washington Park reservoir site.
On December 15, 2014, the Water Bureau submitted the first of two Land Use Review applications for the proposed Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project. In January 2015, BDS will issue a notice of public hearing and open the public comment period.
The Water Bureau’s Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project proposes to build a new below-ground reservoir in the same general footprint as the existing upper Reservoir 3, with a reflecting pool on top. The lower Reservoir 4 basin and the slope to the west are needed to provide landslide abatement; the slope will be restored to its pre-reservoir condition. Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland habitat area/bioswale and a reflecting pool are also proposed in the Reservoir 4 basin. Work will primarily be within the Historic District.
Proposed improvements to Reservoir 3 (left) and Reservoir 4 (right)
Land Use Application #1
The initial Land Use application (Type IV, heard and decided by City Council following a public hearing) proposes the removal of the Weir Building (screen house), portions of lower Reservoir 4’s basin, and upper Reservoir 3’s basin. The gatehouses, dams, and other historic features will be protected and restored.
Land Use Application Package
In spring 2015, a second Land Use application package with two components will be submitted for construction of a new covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, walkways, and historic preservation and rehabilitation actions. The features, which are described in the first Type IV land use application, will offer the public enhanced access to the new surface water features and classically-designed gatehouses, dams, and related structures. These two reviews will be Type III. The Historic Resource Review will be heard and decided by the Historic Landmarks Commission following a public hearing. The Conditional Use and Environmental Review will be heard and decided by a Hearings Officer following a public hearing.
Before construction begins and permits can be issued for the work, the Land Use Review applications must be approved.
The applications are a result of a robust public involvement process that included multiple public open houses and nine Community Sounding Board (CSB) meetings that guided design for the required visible features of a new reservoir in Washington Park.
CSB members included representatives from:
Portland’s preservation organizations, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Historic Preservation League of Oregon, also participated in the public involvement process to help determine the future of the historic site.
The project addresses four major reservoir issues:
A copy of the land use applications submitted to BDS will be posted on the project webpage at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/wpreservoirs/LUR1. The Bureau of Development Services maintains the official application record, which tracks updates and revisions over time.
Additional Information & Contacts
The Portland Water Bureau has selected InfoWater software to support the bureau’s water distribution network modeling and management needs.
The new software, developed by Innovyze, will replace software the Water Bureau has utilized for 20 years and will further enable the bureau to address critical planning, design, operational, and water quality issues.
InfoWater is an example of hydraulic network analysis software. This type of specialized software will offer Water Bureau staff in the Operational Analysis, Engineering Planning, Engineering Design, and Water Quality Compliance Groups the tools to:
Additional benefits of the InfoWater software include:
According to staff in the Operations Group, InfoWater will offer the Water Bureau valuable tools for planning, designing, and operating the infrastructure. The Water Bureau will be transitioning to the new software over the next year or so – learning the new software and moving data links from the old to the new format. This is definitely an investment in many years of water system excellence.
The Portland Water Bureau joins Seattle Public Utilities, City of Atlanta, and many other large water utilities in using this product.
Implementation of the Bull Run Water Supply Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) reached another milestone this summer with the completion of a second fish ladder outside of the Bull Run watershed on Alder Creek, which is a large tributary to the Sandy River.
In the HCP, the Portland Water Bureau committed to constructing fish ladders at two locations on Alder Creek to improve passage for steelhead, coho salmon, and other native fish. Last year, a fish ladder was installed at the waterfall under the Highway 26 Bridge. This summer, the Water Bureau, in cooperation with the City of Sandy and state and federal agencies, completed the installation of a second fish ladder further upstream at the City of Sandy’s water intake structure. This location was chosen because the water diversion structure had blocked passage for juvenile native fish like steelhead, coho salmon, and trout during the summer months.
Before construction, a splash-board dam blocked juvenile fish at the City of Sandy’s water intake structure.
The fish ladder, consisting of four pre-cast concrete vaults, was attached to the existing diversion structure. Two vaults were inserted in a slot behind a concrete wall on the right bank (facing downstream) and rest on the existing concrete apron. Two other vaults rest on a poured concrete foundation and connect to the other vaults. Altogether, the vaults serve as steps with flowing water. They have notches and stainless steel weir plates to provide appropriate fish passage conditions.
After construction, the completed fish ladder allows fish passage during the summer months.
The two regulating agencies that provided input into and approved the fish passage design for this project were the federal National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the state of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The project design was by Firwood Design Group located in Sandy, Oregon.
The Water Bureau will monitor the two fish ladders on Alder Creek to see how they work under various flow conditions. The fish passage improvements at the site were designed to withstand a 100-year flood event.
This project is one of 49 measures the City committed to implement when it approved the Bull Run Water Supply HCP in October 2008. The HCP is a 50-year plan to protect and improve aquatic habitat in the lower Bull Run River and throughout the Sandy River basin while continuing to manage the Bull Run watershed as Portland’s primary water supply.