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Portland Water Bureau

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GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Water Bureau To Flush Water Mains in SE Portland Neighborhoods

By Lindsay Wochnick

Unidirectional flushing maintains the water system.

To clean and maintain the drinking water system, the Water Bureau uses Unidirectional Flushing (UDF) to scour and clean the insides of the water delivery pipes. 

UDF Flushing mapBeginning the week of July 13 and lasting through the summer months, the Portland Water Bureau will conduct UDF of the water mains in the following southeast Portland neighborhoods: 

  • Powellhurst-Gilbert
  • Pleasant Valley/Powellhurst-Gilbert
  • Pleasant Valley

Flushing will occur between SE 111th Avenue on the west, SE 145th Avenue on east, SE Holgate Boulevard on the north, and SE Brookside Drive, SE 122nd Drive, and SE Blackberry Circle on the south. CLICK HERE to view a map of the flushing area.

Using Water Wisely this Summer
Flushing water from a hydrant is an important and necessary practice to maintain water quality in the distribution system. This practice is used to flush discolored water from the pipes, keep water fresh in low use areas and dead-ends, and to clean inside pipes. This process is regularly monitored by Water Bureau staff to make sure the water is used wisely while maintaining water quality.

What you can Expect to See
Unidirectional flushing will have minimal impacts to customers. If you see hydrant flushing crews working in the area, please drive carefully and treat them like any other road construction crew.

During flushing, residents in the immediate vicinity of flushing may notice temporarily discolored water and lower than normal water pressure. The discoloration does not pose a health risk. However, avoid using tap water or running the washing machine or dishwasher until your water runs clear. After flushing, if you still experience discolored water, turn on each cold water faucet in your house and allow them to run for several minutes or until the water is clear.

Flushing usually occurs Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

How Does UDF Work?
UDF works by forcing water in the pipes to flow at much higher speeds than normal. Flushing crews first open and close valves to isolate sections of pipe, and then the water and any sediments in the pipes are flushed out through an open fire hydrant. Residents may observe water gushing from an open hydrant.

Improving and Maintaining High-Quality Drinking Water
Drinking water systems, especially unfiltered systems like Portland, need to routinely clean the network of pipes to improve water quality. Over time, very fine sediment and organic matter from the Bull Run settle out of the water and accumulate in the bottom of the pipes. While the sediments are generally harmless, they can make the disinfectant in the water less effective. Additionally, sudden changes in the flow of water can disturb these sediments resulting in discolored water.

Questions
Call the Portland Water Bureau Water Line from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at 503‐823‐7525 with any questions or to report ongoing water quality problems. For more information, updates, and maps, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water/udf.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information