GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
We all appreciate the purity and abundance of our treasured Bull Run water. For over 100 years, the Water Bureau has worked diligently to protect the watershed and maintain the high water quality customers expect and deserve. However, Mother Nature always has the last word.
In January, there was a large landslide on the South Fork of the Bull Run River between the two storage reservoirs in the watershed. The silt and mud from the slide that washed into Reservoir 2 caused elevated levels of turbidity, or suspended solids, and the Bull Run water supply had to be shut down. Our groundwater system was once again called upon to provide high quality water to customers, as the Bull Run supply is not filtered. The groundwater system allows the Water Bureau to maintain Bull Run as an unfiltered system.
The recent rain storms have again aggravated the slide and the Water Bureau has started to blend groundwater with Bull Run to lower turbidity levels.
While we commonly sing the praises of Bull Run water, the real unsung hero is groundwater. Without our groundwater system, we would be in a similar boat to Vancouver BC. In fall of 2006, a large storm hit the Pacific Northwest. Over 2 million Vancouver residents had to boil their water, some for as long as 12 days, because of turbidity in their water source. They were not lucky enough to have a secondary water source like we do. During this same storm, the Water Bureau was able to shut off the Bull Run supply and switch to groundwater. All our customer continued to be supplied with drinking water that meets or exceeds all drinking water standards.
So next time you turn on the tap, think about how lucky we are to have groundwater. To learn more about Portland’s groundwater system, participate in one of our upcoming groundwater events.
Groudwater Protection Program Manager
Sandy River Basin Community Information