GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
On Tuesday, October 23, a Portland Water Bureau crew was removing from service a fire hydrant in Northeast Portland to accommodate some sewer work on the street. Part of that work involved first flushing this hydrant to clear the water and ensure no air was in the pipeline.
That night, another hydrant located nearby on NE 32nd Avenue and NE Siskiyou Street blew off its flexible coupling. This was likely due to some sort of high pressure event in the water system that caused a “water hammer”— the abrupt alteration of the flow of water with a pressure surge.
Another Water Bureau crew was called and quickly shut down the broken hydrant. However, the force of the surge of water stirred up natural harmless sediments inside area pipelines which caused brown or “dirty water” for some houses within a wide radius of that hydrant.
Normally, calls about water quality concerns are handled by the bureau’s Water Line staff. The Water Line is closed after 4:00 pm, so calls from customers are directed to the bureau’s Water Control Center. Only one person was on hand to take the calls about the dirty water. Regrettably, some customers waited a long time for their call to be answered. The Water Bureau apologizes for this inconvenience.
The Water Bureau will be exploring ways to post a special bulletin on its website and Customer Service phone lines to alert customers of any unexpected change in their service, including interruptions due to main breaks or a broken hydrant.
If you ever do experience dirty water, normally running the tap at each location in your house for 2 to 3 minutes will clear the lines of sediments.
Public Information & Involvement