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Portland Water Bureau

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ALERT: Water Bureau Crews Responding to Water Main Break at Intersection of SW Barbur Boulevard & SW Bancroft Street

By Lindsay Wochnick

Portland Water Bureau Maintenance & Construction crews have responded to a water main break at the intersection of SW Barbur Boulevard and SW Bancroft Street.

Yesterday evening, Water Bureau Dispatch received calls from customers reporting water pressure issues. After deploying to the area, crews were unable to locate the break due to the melting snow and challenging weather conditions.

Early this morning, Water Bureau crews determined that a 6-inch diameter cast iron pipe installed in 1926 had ruptured at the intersection of SW Barbur Boulevard and SW Bancroft Street. At this time, water to the broken pipeline is in the process of being shutdown.

No flooding damage has been reported. Residents on SW View Point Terrace, SW Hamilton Street and SW Condor Avenue may experience low water pressure and reduced water flow.

Crews are on-scene addressing the situation until work is completed.

Over the past five days, Portland Water Bureau Maintenance & Construction crews have responded to hundreds of calls for service, including water main breaks, such as the 20-inch cast iron pipe break on SE 20th Avenue at SE Powell Boulevard on Sunday.

In Portland, aging cast iron water mains tend to break during the colder times of the year, such as in the temperatures currently being experienced. Much colder water can make older pipes more brittle. Adding cold air temperatures at or below freezing can cause the ground above a pipe to freeze thereby increasing external stress on a pipe. Water distribution pipes are usually laid at a depth of five to six feet.

Other factors can have an effect on aging pipe. This includes soil conditions, pipe corrosion and ground movement. Disturbances around a water main from work on underground utilities like sewer and natural gas lines as well as road construction can cause an old main to weaken over time and later break.

Portland customers are encouraged to assist the Water Bureau in locating water system emergencies such as water main breaks. If you observe running water in the street or experience low water pressure or no water to your home, call the 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503-823-4874.

Portland Water Bureau crews are not able to help fix frozen pipes between the water meter and home, or pipes inside the home or building. Such repairs are the customer's responsibility and can be performed by a plumber.

Lindsay Wochnick
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