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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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REMINDER: City Utility Rate Review Scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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Scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, the City of Portland will hold a City Utility Rate Review for the public to talk about drinking water and sewer-storm water rates. The City Utility Rate Review is sponsored by the City Budget OfficeCity Commissioner Nick Fish and management staff from both the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services will be on hand to answer questions.

The rate review will be held at Parkrose High School, located at 12003 NE Shaver Street. 

The Portland Water Bureau invites our customers to attend to learn more about the bureau’s operating budget, capital improvement program and projects, and the challenges of maintaining an aging system and keeping rates affordable.

Tim Hall
Public Information

Groundwater Awareness Week: Be Informed & Help Protect a Vital Resource

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During the week of March 10, 2014, the Portland Water Bureau joins the National Groundwater Association and other partners to give special recognition to one of our nation’s most valuable resources - GROUNDWATER.

Readers are encouraged to follow the Water Bureau on Twitter and Facebook for daily posts that will discuss why groundwater is important to our drinking water supply, and what you can do to be a groundwater steward and help protect this resource.

Groundwater – It’s Right Underneath Your Feet
Groundwater is the water that soaks into the soil from rain or other precipitation and moves downward to fill cracks and other openings in beds of rocks and sand. It is a renewable natural resource when used wisely.  Of all the fresh water in the world (excluding polar ice caps), 95 percent is groundwater. Surface water (lakes and rivers) make up only three percent of the world’s fresh water.

Groundwater affects everyone. Groundwater provides drinking water for nearly half our nation’s population (including Portland and surrounding communities) and provides about 40 percent of America’s irrigation water.  It sustains streamflow between rain events and during long dry periods, and it helps maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems in streams, lakes, and wetlands.

Groundwater serves as the secondary source of Portland’s drinking water. To access the water beneath our feet, Portland has drilled 27 wells into three regional aquifers in the Columbia South Shore Well Field.  The Well Field can provide 80 to 100 million gallons of drinking water a day in emergency situations or to augment Bull Run supply in the summer. Because of this reliable backup water source, Portland is able to maintain the region’s primary drinking water supply in the Bull Run watershed as an unfiltered drinking water source.  Learn more here.

Groundwater Protection:  Do Your Part
We all play a role in preserving our vital drinking water resources. Whether you’re a resident, business owner, employee or farmer, you can make a difference. Even small amounts of chemicals spilled, leaked or dumped on the ground can find their way into our aquifers. Are you ready to join Portland Water Bureau in protecting groundwater?  Start by taking one or more of the following actions:

  • Carefully follow all instructions for the use, storage and disposal of household chemicals.
  • Check your vehicles for leaks. Leaks often go unnoticed and can contribute to groundwater contamination.
  • Avoid over-treating your garden or lawn with chemicals. Excess fertilizer and pesticides can leach into the soil and into groundwater. Consider less toxic or natural alternatives.
  • Water wisely. Avoid overwatering, especially after applying fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Landscape with native plants. Natives are adapted to our local soils and climate and require less fertilizer, pesticides and water. To learn more, visit Naturescaping for Clean Rivers at: http://emswcd.org/.
  • Never pour household chemicals or used motor oil down storm drains. These can flow directly into local streams or soak into the ground.
  • Recycle or dispose of batteries properly to keep heavy metals out of the environment.
  • Get informed. Call Metro’s Recycling Information Hotline at 503-234-3000 or visit the website.
  • Check underground storage tanks for leaks. Many older homes have underground heating oil tanks. Information on checking for leaks and decommissioning can be found here
  • Report chemical spills and illegal dumping. Call Oregon Emergency Response System at 1-800-452-0311 and Bureau of Environmental Services at 503-823-7180.
  • Clean up pet waste to keep excess nutrients and bacteria out of our waterways.

To increase your groundwater awareness, visit http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/groundwater. Help promote and protect this valuable resource.

Doug Wise
Groundwater Protection

Underground Water Vault Excavation on SE Powell Boulevard Underway

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The water vault excavation project on SE Powell Boulevard between SE 97th Avenue and SE 100th Avenue is underway and proceeding on schedule.

Excavation a 30-foot wide by 60-foot long space.
Excavation underway

Crews, managed by the primary Contractor Hoffman Construction Company, are in process of excavating a 30-foot wide by 60-foot long space under the westbound lane in the 9700 block of SE Powell Boulevard. Shoring is being installed to provide safety for workers entering the trench.

Installing shoring system
Installing shoring system

Over the next couple months, a 23-foot wide by 40-foot long water vault will be constructed in the excavation’s footprint. Once excavation is complete, crews will construct the slab on grade for the vault, install the new connection piping and then finish constructing the vault.

Aerial photo of Kelly Butte Reservoir - January 2014  
Aerial photo of worksite, January 2014

Construction of the vault is anticipated to be completed in June 2014, under normal weather conditions. The water vault will house complex piping that will connect to the city’s new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte. The reservoir, scheduled for completion in 2015, is 60 percent complete.

For additional information on the Kelly Butte Reservoir project, visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/kellybutte.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Save the Date: City Utility Rate Review Scheduled for March 19, 2014

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Scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, 2014, the City of Portland will hold a City Utility Rate Review for the public to talk about drinking water and sewer-storm water rates.

The City Utility Rate Review is sponsored by the City Budget Office

City Commissioner Nick Fish and management staff from both the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services will be on hand to answer questions.

The rate review will be held at Parkrose High School, 12003 NE Shaver Street, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

The Portland Water Bureau invites our customers to attend to learn more about the bureau’s operating budget, capital improvement program and projects, and the challenges of maintaining an aging system and keeping rates affordable.

Watch for further announcements.

Tim Hall
Public Information

Water Bureau's Operations Group Conducts Upgrades to Protect Water Quality

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Members of the Water Bureau’s Operations Group have been busy conducting upgrades to the water supply system in the Bull Run watershed as well as to the huge conduits that carry water 22 miles to Powell Butte. These upgrades allow the Water Bureau to not only improve water quality protection methods, but also to ensure that the city’s water continues to meet or exceed all federal and state requirements for a public water system utilizing an unfiltered surface water source.

Conduit Vault Replacements
Water Bureau crews at the Sandy River Station are replacing old air valve vaults along the conduits.  The air valves are fitted at the highest point on the conduits to continually release unwanted air during water system operation. This release protects the water system against air-related surges, and maintains system efficiency. The outdated vaults are too small to allow workers to test or replace the air valves, and do not adequately protect the air valves from contamination by flood water.

The crews’ goal is to remove and replace all the vaults that are not up to current standards. Sandy River Station staff has replaced about 14 vaults on Conduits 2 and 3 in the last year. Most of the vaults on Conduit 2 are in poor condition. The goal is to replace the remainder of them by the end of this year.

Later this spring, staff from the Water Bureau's Engineering Services Group is planning a shutdown on Conduit 2 east of SE 162nd Avenue. During that shutdown, Sandy River Station staff will replace all the isolation gates and air valves that no longer work correctly. The larger vaults will make this work possible.

Conduit 2 air valve vault, built with red bricks circa 1911,  measured about 2-feet in diameter.  
Conduit 2 air valve vault, built with red bricks circa 1911,  measured about 2-feet in diameter.

Sandy River Station staff installs a new air valve vault on Conduit 2. 
Sandy River Station staff installs a new air valve vault on Conduit 2.


Flow Meters Installation
Six new flow meters on the conduits at the Headworks facility in the Bull Run watershed are currently being installed.  The new flow meters will replace existing meters installed in the 1920’s through 1950’s.  New flow meters will be installed on each of the three conduits leaving Screenhouse #3, and on each of the three conduits leaving the Primary Intake Structure.  Three new control valves will also be installed on the conduits leaving Screenhouse #3 to provide full pipe conditions for the flow meters and allow automation of flow control by the water treatment operators at Headworks. 

Accurate flow measurement is a critical component in calculating the chlorine feed rate for disinfection, and the monitoring of chlorine contact time to meet regulatory requirements. The new flow meters will result in more accurate chlorine dose control and allow for automated chlorine dose control in the future when new chlorinators are installed. 

Flow meters inside water conduit during installation.  
Flow meters inside water conduit during installation.      

The work involves installation of the six new meters, three control valves, and associated piping, electrical, and instrumentation on the water conduits at Headworks.

Terry Black
Public Information

Heartbleed Security Notice

A serious security vulnerability known as "Heartbleed" was recently discovered in OpenSSL, a popular software library commonly used by many websites on the internet to encrypt communication between a user's computer and a web server.

PortlandOregon.gov is NOT affected by this vulnerability as it does not use the OpenSSL software library. Please rest assured we are dedicated to protecting your security on this website.