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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

Water Bureau staff hard at work during snow storms

December 16, 2016

When temperatures drop, water pipes break. Last weekend, the Portland Water Bureau responded to multiple incidents throughout the City.

Large pipes, called “mains,” can break when cold weather causes a crack or a hole to develop. Water gushes out of the pipe and can damage homes, flood streets, and, in extreme cases, create sink holes. The same thing happens to home plumbing – for tips about how to avoid burst pipes visit PWB’s website.

Portland's water system includes 2,100 miles of pipes. About two-thirds (1,350 miles) are made of cast iron - and were largely installed before 1960 - and are very vulnerable to winter breaks.

During the recent snow storms, dozens of dedicated employees from the Water Bureau worked around the clock in frigid temperatures and tough conditions to repair damaged pipes.

And if you're wondering how we manage the Benson Bubblers, the Water Bureau shuts most of them off during very cold weather to prevent the pipes from freezing. (A few Bubblers are kept on to provide water to those who rely on them as their primary water source.)

If you are experiencing an urgent water problem, please contact the Portland Water Bureau's 24/7 Emergency Hotline at (503) 823 – 4874.

For more information, visit the Water Bureau’s website.