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Portland Water Bureau

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Hydrants Used to Extinguish 5-Alarm Fire May Cause Discolored Water

By Lindsay Wochnick

This morning just after 4:00 am, Portland firefighters responded to a five-alarm fire at a construction site on NE Monroe Street and NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Portland firefighters connected to a number of hydrants to put out the blaze. During this time, a large volume of water was drawn, increasing water flows in the surrounding pipelines. A number of residents in the area found their drinking water discolored as a result.

The infrequent surge of water from a hydrant often will cause temporary water discoloration, or “dirty water.” 

The Portland Water Bureau reminds our customers that there is no health hazard associated with the discolored water. Dirty water is caused by stirring up harmless natural sediments found in our Bull Run water that normally deposit in low flow sections water mains. Flushing a hydrant for routine maintenance or the use of a hydrant to fight a fire will stir up sediment.

“If you encounter dirty water, we recommend that you run the cold water faucets in your home or business for about two to five minutes, or until the water clears,” said Tim Hall, Public Information Manager. “If you continue to experience problems with water quality, please contact the bureau’s Water Quality Line at 503- 823-7525.”

Lindsay Wochnick
Community Information & Involvement

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