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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589


1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204

Soaking up the storm

January 21, 2016

The Bureau of Environmental Services works hard to manage storm and wastewater in Portland.

The Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant processes an average of 70 million gallons of wastewater a day. On Sunday, we had heavy rains, and the plant processed nearly 240 million gallons!

The plant is the largest in Portland. It collects and treats storm and wastewater 24 hours a day, every day, for 600,000 customers. There are dozens of pump stations and thousands of miles of sewer lines that bring wastewater to the plant.

Environmental Services also tackles storm and wastewater with the Big Pipe, which helps protect the Willamette River. Before, heavy rainstorms and stormwater runoff from our streets would cause our sewer system to overflow, dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Willamette - up to 50 times a year!

Since the Big Pipe has been installed, sewer overflows have dramatically reduced, improving the Willamette River’s water quality. Everything caught in the Big Pipe goes directly to the Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Learn more about the Big Pipe and the Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant by visiting the Bureau of Environmental Services’ website.