The bureau’s Toxic Reduction Program has reduced employee exposure to toxic substances and improved employee health and safety. In 2007, sustainability staff audited operations and found several substances that could be eliminated or reduced in volume. PWB also developed a procedure to review the purchase and disposal of all chemicals, and established one central location for all of the Material Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) on chemicals. These changes have reduced the bureau's chemical product volume by 30%.
The Portland Water Bureau uses only food-grade lubricants and cleansers in water meter, main and hydrant maintenance, and installation. Chlorination at both Washington Park and Mt. Tabor reservoirs uses liquid chlorine rather than chlorine gas as a safety measure.
The bureau purchases office cleaning supplies that minimize potential impacts to the health and safety of employees, are sensitive to indoor air quality, and do not sacrifice product effectiveness.
Read a case study: Water Tanks Get a Green Makeover