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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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Monitoring Results

The Portland Water Bureau has tested for PPCPs in both the Bull Run and Columbia South Shore Well Field drinking water supplies.

August 2006
The Bull Run was tested for the first time. The Water Bureau found an extremely low level detect of caffeine, 9.2 parts per trillion (ppt), at our Bull Run source. This is an extremely small amount. 

October 2007
The following PPCPs were detected in groundwater:

  • Acetaminophen (pain reliever in Tylenol) 18 ppt
  • Caffeine (a natural stimulant) 25 ppt
  • Ibuprofen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug in Advil) 2.4 ppt
  • Sulfamethoxazole  (antibiotic) 1.8 ppt

April 2008
There were four detections of two PPCPs in the groundwater supply:

  • Estradiol (hormone found in birth control) 1.2 and 5 ppt
  • Ethinyl Estradiol - 17 alpha (hormone found in birth control) 11 and 18 ppt

There were also detections in the field blanks:

  • Fluoxetine (antidepressant, known as Prozac) 1 ppt
  • Esterone (hormone found in birth control) 1.4 and 1.9 ppt

May 2008 
NO PPCPs were detected in the Bull Run. 

August 2008
NO PPCPs were detected in raw and treated groundwater.

November 2008
NO PPCPs were detected in raw and treated groundwater.

August 2009
NO PPCPs were detected in treated groundwater.

  • Ibuprofrin (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug in Advil) was detected in raw groundwater at 3.5ppt
  • Triclosan (common anti-bacterial found in many products) was detected in a field blank at 7.4ppt

Because these substances are commonly used, and the amounts detected were at an extremely low level, parts per trillion, there is a high potential for sample contamination both in sample collection and in laboratory analysis. Duplicates and field blanks are part of the monitoring as quality control measures. The detections in the field blanks is a result of environmental contamination, and may mean that the detections in the groundwater supply were a result of sample contamination.