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Portland Water Bureau

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NEWS RELEASE 07/01/14: Portland Water Bureau to Run Groundwater Supply

By Teresa Black

Official News Release

This afternoon, July 1, 2014, the Portland Water Bureau activated the groundwater wells in the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

On June 30, the Portland Water Bureau detected a leak on one of the 50-inch diameter supply conduits from the Bull Run watershed into the city. It will take about two days to repair the conduit. While the conduit is being repaired, the Portland Water Bureau will augment the Bull Run supply with drinking water from the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

"Thanks to careful planning and investment, we have two high quality sources of water available to us," said Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff. "When there is a disruption in the Bull Run water system, it's tremendously comforting to know that we can turn to our Columbia South Shore Well Field as a back-up and supply all our customer’s needs.”

The groundwater system may contribute up to 30% of supply during the repairs. The bureau estimates that it will take two days to repair the leaking conduit. Once the conduit has been repaired, the bureau will take the opportunity to perform its annual maintenance operation of the groundwater system the week of July 7, replacing the maintenance run scheduled for August 2014. This will identify any additional maintenance needs and issues in the complex groundwater system that is composed of pumps, chemical feed systems, electronic controls, and accessory equipment.

By doing this maintenance operation, the bureau will ensure the reliability of the groundwater system when needed, either unexpectedly or to meet seasonal supply later in the summer or early fall. During the maintenance operation it is anticipated that the average contribution of groundwater to the system will be approximately 5% or less of the total daily water demand.

It will take about 24 to 60 hours for groundwater to move through the distribution system. The Columbia South Shore Well Field is a high quality water supply which meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water regulations. Customers should not notice any difference in the taste of the water. The public will be notified when the well field is shut down and the water supply returns to 100% Bull Run water.

To learn more about the Columbia South Shore Well Field, visit    

Customers with water quality questions are encouraged to contact the Water Line at 503-823-7525.

Tim Hall
Public Information


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