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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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Development & Use of Groundwater

A groundwater facility in the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

Development
Since 1895, Portland has relied on the Bull Run watershed as its primary source of drinking water. For most of that time, it was Portland's only source.  

A number of events in the 1960s and 1970s spurred interest in a backup source of water. Floods, landslides and high turbidity underscored the vulnerability of Bull Run as a single unfiltered water source. Population growth and security concerns also contributed to the city's decision to secure an additional water source. 

In the early 80s, the City invested $30 million to develop the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

Groundwater Protection

In 1987, the city adopted a well field protection plan in response to concerns about potential contamination from industrial pollutants. This plan was one of the first of its kind in the U.S. 

The increasing importance of the well field led to the 2003 adoption of a new and improved well field protection program that greatly expanded the protection area and the ability of the city to restrict activities that could threaten groundwater quality. 
Groundwater Use

The table below shows all of the times groundwater has been used for drinking water. 
MGD = millions of gallons per day. (1 MGD is about 700 gallons per minute)

BG = billion gallons 

 Start date

 Days used

 

Total Volume Pumped (BG = Billion Gallons)

 

 

Range of Daily Production (MGD= Million-Gallons per Day)

 

 Reason for Groundwater Use

 July 30, 2013

7 days

0.03 BG

0 - 5 MGD

Maintenance Operation

August 6, 2012

18 days

0.03 BG

0 - 5 MGD

Maintenance Operation

February 23, 2012

5 days

0.22 BG

23.6 - 52.4 MGD

Turbidity* (Not a full Bull Run shutdown)

 

January 21, 2012

 11 days

 0.82 BG

 18.0 - 83.6 MGD

Turbidity* in Bull Run supply

August 9, 2011 

6 days

~0.03 BG

0 - 22.3 MGD

Maintenance Operation

January 16, 2011

17 days

~1.3 BG

8.5 - 88.7 MGD

Turbidity* in Bull Run supply

August 9, 2010

6 days

~0.03 BG

4.1 - 5.4 MGD

Maintenance Operation

September 28, 2009

31 days

~1.1 BG

36.0 MGD

Supply Augmentation

August 5, 2009

7 days

~0.03 BG

4 - 5 MGD

Maintenance Operation

November 13, 2008

9 days

~0.65 BG

27.4 - 96.0 MGD

Turbidity* in Bull Run supply

August 18, 2008

6 days

~.003 BG

4.7 - 6.4 MGD

Maintenance Operation

September 28, 2007

13 days

~0.43 BG

18.3 - 36.4 MGD

Supply augmentation

June 25, 2007

60 days

~1.44 BG

7.7 - 87.1 MGD

Supply augmentation

November 7, 2006

14 days

~1.1 BG

27.8 - 92.2 MGD

Turbidity* in Bull Run supply

August 14, 2006

78 days

~3.58 BG

4.5 - 72.0 MGD

Supply augmentation

July 27, 2004

29 days

~1.01 BG

36.5 MGD

Supply augmentation

January 29, 2004

4 days

~0.04 BG

18.4 MGD

Turbidity* (Not a full Bull Run shutdown)

July 22, 2003

63 days

~3.7 BG

20.8 - 72.6 MGD

Supply augmentation

Oct. 8, 2001 

12 days

~0.44 BG

6.9 - 45.8 MGD

Supply augmentation

Aug. 9, 2000 

41 days

~1.7 BG

10.0 - 36.0 MGD

Supply augmentation

Nov. 25, 1999 

19 days

~1.5 BG

19.0 - 89.0 MGD

Flood and turbidity* in Bull Run supply 

Dec. 28, 1998 

5 days

~0.35 BG

29.0 - 93.6 MGD

Turbidity* (rain on snow event) 

Sept. 4, 1996 

27 days

~0.7 BG

13.0 - 31.0 MGD

Supply augmentation

Feb. 7, 1996 

8 days

~0.5 BG

4.9 - 86.6 MGD

Flood and turbidity* in Bull Run supply 

Nov. 28, 1995 

27 days

~0.7 BG

5.1 - 29.8 MGD

Landslide in Bull Run watershed (Damage to conduits, not a turbidity event)

Aug. 2, 1994

73 days

~2.5 BG

2.0 - 36.0 MGD

Supply augmentation

Aug. 17, 1992 

45 days

~1.5 BG

17.0 - 30.0 MGD

Supply augmentation

Aug. 7, 1990 

23 days

~0.22 BG

4.7 - 14.0 MGD

Supply augmentation

Sept. 4, 1987 

88 days

~5.3 BG

28.0 - 86.0 MGD

Supply augmentation

Feb. 25, 1986

22 days

~1.2 BG

21.0 - 84.0 MGD

Turbidity*

in Bull Run supply 

July 20, 1985 

19 days

~0.38 BG

21.0 MGD

Supply augmentation

*Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water caused by suspended particles.