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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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SW Caruthers-Mill Sewer Repair Project

Updated August 20, 2019Button. Click to sign up for email updates

Environmental Services continues construction on a project to repair or replace up to 6,800 linear feet, over one mile, of public sewer pipes and manholes in downtown Portland that are in deteriorating condition. Some of the pipes were among the first built in Portland, before the 1880s. These improvements will protect water quality, public health, and the environment by reducing the possibility of sewage releases to buildings and streets.


The project is generally located in the Portland State University (PSU) area and is bounded by SW Mill Street to the north, I-405 to the south, SW 16th Avenue to the west, and SW Harbor Drive to the east. The project also includes work on W Burnside, SW Washington, and SW Columbia streets.

Project Map - construction update

General Schedule

In general, work hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with Saturdays and Sundays as needed. To reduce public impacts and complete the work as quickly as possible, work will also take place at night in several locations.

Construction is expected to be completed within a year.

Look-Ahead Construction Schedule

The contractor is scheduled to work at several locations throughout August and September. Work schedules may fluctuate due to weather, conditions underground, traffic impacts, subcontractor schedules, materials availability, and other factors.

Portland State University posts campus-wide impact notices at

Several streets where crews had to dig into the street to repair public sewer pipes now have temporary asphalt patches. The contractor is completing final pavement restoration for those trench patches as weather permits.

Week of August 26

Crews will repair the sewer mainline using Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP). This work will take place at night at the following locations:

  • SW 4th Avenue between SW Lincoln Street and SW College Street
  • The SW I-405 freeway off-ramp to SW Jackson Street
  • The intersection of SW Harrison Street and SW 6th Avenue

Week of September 2

Crews will repair the sewer mainline using Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP). This work will take place at night at the following locations:

  • SW 5th Avenue between SW College Street and SW Jackson Street
  • SW 5th Avenue between SW Harrison Street and SW Hall Street
  • SW Harrison Street between SW 4th Avenue and SW 5th Avenue

What to Expect during Construction

You can expect the following activities and impacts during construction:

  • The Portland Noise Office granted Environmental Services a Noise Variance to enable the construction contractor to work both days and nights.
  • We expect work will take less than a week at each location.
  • The noisiest work will be done during the day. Daytime work includes videotaping the pipe, cleaning the pipe, and doing small repairs. Crews also set up the bypass system that provides uninterrupted sewer service to all buildings during pipe repairs.
  • The pipe lining sewer repair work begins in the early evening and extends into the next morning.
  • Equipment that generates noise includes sewer cleaning trucks, compressors, light trucks, generators, pumps, and ventilation fans.
  • Vactor trucks will be in the area to operate vacuum pumps necessary to clean the pipes prior to the lining and maintain sewer service during the lining. Vactor trucks generate noise and can be in place for up to several hours at a time.
  • Night work will require lighting of the work zone.
  • In the event of a sewer backup, storm drainage problem, or clogged catch basin, call 503-823-1700 to report the problem and the location.

Construction Methods

The city uses many construction methods to repair or replace sewer pipes. For this project, the city plans to use Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP) and Open Trench Excavation. To learn more about each of these construction methods and what can be expected during construction, go to

During CIPP, crews work from a manhole to insert a flexible liner inside the old pipe. Crews then inflate the liner and use hot water, steam, or ultraviolet light to cure the liner, forming a rigid, smooth surface that seals cracks and restores the pipe to near-new condition.

When heat (steam) is used to cure or harden the liner during CIPP, people who are nearby may smell an odor that is often described as being similar to plastic or glue. The odor is from the chemical styrene, which is in the resin of the liner. The resin is the part of the liner that reacts with heat and hardens.

While unpleasant for some, the amount of airborne styrene generated by the CIPP process is not a health risk at the levels observed by the City of Portland and tested and monitored by an independent industrial hygienist. The odor dissipates quickly once the process is complete.

Phases and Duration of CIPP Work

The CIPP sewer pipe lining process occurs in phases:

  • One day to inspect pipe conditions to confirm construction methods
  • One day to clean the pipe
  • One day to remove roots and debris from the pipe
  • One day or night to set up the bypass service that provides uninterrupted sewer service
  • One day or night to line the sewer pipe and cure the lining so it hardens in place
  • One day or night to reinstate the service lateral connections and remove the bypass system

For More Information

Environmental Services is committed to keeping residents and businesses informed. We encourage you to sign up now for the project’s email update list.

  • Visit this project webpage for updates using the shortcut
  • Sign up for email updates by clicking the SIGN UP button on this page.
  • If you have a question about the project, call 503-823-5315, stating that Caruthers-Mill is your area of concern. Your call will be returned by the next business day.
  • If you have a nighttime construction noise complaint, call 503-823-1338, stating that Caruthers-Mill is your project of concern.
  • Email city outreach staff.
  • In the event of a sewer backup, storm drainage problem, or clogged catch basin, call 503-823-1700 to report the problem and the location.

Project Overview

Including the project description, map and schedule

Community Outreach

Check out current and previous communications about the project