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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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Conduit Work Causes Some Water Discoloration in Southeast Neighborhood

The Portland Water Bureau has received reports of discolored water from Southeast Holgate to Flavel boulevards, and Southeast 39th/Cesar Chavez to 75th avenues. This is from conduit maintenance work. The Water Bureau is performing spot flushing in the affected area to move fresh water through the pipes.

This work is expected throughout the day and possibly into tomorrow. During the work, customers may experience periodic discolored water. You can find updates at:

The City of Portland has a high quality water source – the Bull Run Watershed – that is unfiltered. Like any unfiltered water supply, over time a very fine layer of sediment can deposit along the bottom of pipes. This natural sediment is organic material. On rare occasions it can get stirred up and cause discolored water.

Common causes of discolored water include maintenance work, hydrant use, hydrant replacement, valve turning, routine maintenance, firefighting, main breaks, or nearby construction. 

In most cases the water will clear on its own within an hour or two. You may want to wait to run the washing machine, filter your water, make ice, or use hot water (like taking a shower). After waiting an hour for the system to settle, run water at one tap for two to three minutes to see if it clears.  If it does not clear, wait another hour and try again. When the water runs clear, run water throughout the house to flush any sediment that may have been drawn into your pipes.

If the water does not clear in a few hours, or if there is also a significant loss of pressure, contact the Water Quality Line at 503-823-7525 Monday-Friday from 8:30am – 4:30 pm, or email  You can also learn more here:, Drinking Water Quality at Home, and

Salem Water Advisory: A Portland Drinking Water Q&A

As you probably heard, the City of Salem issued a drinking water advisory over Memorial Day weekend, May 29, that warned children and vulnerable populations to not drink tap water. The advisory was issued due to low levels of algal toxins in Salem’s drinking water.

Since then, we’ve received some questions:

  • Is the Bull Run water supply vulnerable to the same algal blooms that caused the Salem water advisory?
  • Does the Portland Water Bureau test for algae?
  • How would the Portland Water Bureau address a similar issue in its drinking water supply?
  • What did the Portland Water Bureau do to help Salem?

We’ll answer these one by one.

Is the Bull Run water supply vulnerable to the same algal blooms that caused the Salem water crisis?

Portland’s drinking water is not currently experiencing an increased level of blue-green algae, the type of algae that can produce cyanotoxins. There has never been a blue-green algal bloom in the Bull Run water source.

The Bull Run has occasionally experienced increased concentrations of non-toxin producing algae in the past.

Does the Water Bureau test for algae?

Yes! The Portland Water Bureau samples for algae at the Bull Run source water intake on a weekly basis.

How would the Water Bureau address a similar issue in Portland’s drinking water supply?

If the bureau detected significant concentrations of blue-green algae that posed a public health risk, it has the flexibility to switch to its high quality groundwater source, the Columbia South Shore Well Field. The well field is not at risk for any type of algal contamination.

Emergency Water Distribution trailerWhat did the Portland Water Bureau do to help Salem?

On Thursday, May 31, the Portland Water Bureau delivered two 1,000-gallon water containers and an emergency water distribution trailer to Salem to assist them with their drinking water advisory. The trailers were set up at the Oregon State Fairgrounds to distribute clean drinking water to Salem residents.

More Water Quality Questions?

Explore the Water Quality webpage to discover how the Portland Water Bureau monitors and tests the safety of your drinking water.

2018 Water Quality Report Available Online

2018 Drinking Water Quality Report coverThe 2018 Drinking Water Quality Report outlines how we are continuing to deliver clean and safe drinking water to nearly a million customers.

Portland’s drinking water comes from two high-quality sources—the Bull Run Watershed and Columbia South Shore Well Field.

What’s in the Report?

The report summarizes water quality results for 2017 and provides general information about Portland’s drinking water system. The report also highlights two major treatment improvements that Portland is undertaking. These improvements will provide increased public health protection against lead in household plumbing and Cryptosporidium, an organism that can potentially cause illness. They will also result in more consistent water quality, and serve as an investment for future regulations.

Lead in Water: Get the Facts

Customers concerned about lead in water may wish to request a free lead-in-water test kit. These are available by contacting the LeadLine at 503-988-4000 or Since lead in water can come from faucets and brass fixtures as well as lead solder, testing water is the easiest way to check for lead in home plumbing.

To learn more about reducing lead exposure, visit

How to Access the Report

The Portland Water Bureau is mailing a postcard this week to inform every customer about the availability of this report online. Customers are also able to request a paper copy, either online or by phone. The report is available in large font for the visually impaired as well as Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish.

The report can be found online or by calling the Portland Water Bureau Water Quality Line at 503-823-9444.

Join Our Team: Risk Specialist

Portland Water Bureau logoIf you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you.

The Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs.

The Water Bureau currently employs approximately 560 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Current Opportunity at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Risk Specialist Full Time $5,144.00–$6,857.00 Monthly Mon. 6/25/2018 11:59 PM Pacific Apply here!

Learn More About the Water Bureau


For more information regarding career opportunities at the Water Bureau, contact (503) 823-3515 or e-mail.

Cycle the Well Field on June 9

Cycle the Well Field cyclists

Join the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council for a FREE bicycle tour through Portland’s Columbia South Shore Well Field!

Located deep below the Columbia Slough Watershed, the City’s well field is capable of producing close to 100 million gallons of high-quality drinking water per day. The well field is used as an emergency backup for the Bull Run source and to augment our water supply during the summer when demand for water is higher.

Refreshments will be provided. Space is limited so register early!

The Ride

At several stops along the ride, experts from the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council will reveal the mysteries of groundwater, discuss how groundwater provides flexibility and reliability to the City's water supply, and explain how we can all have a role in protecting this important resource.

The ride will cover approximately 16 miles over relatively flat terrain, at a slow to moderate pace. This event is suitable for advanced, beginner, and intermediate riders due to the length and possible headwinds.

Bring your bike, helmet, water bottle and lunch. This event is rain or shine, please dress for the weather!

Event Details

Date: Saturday, June 9
Time: 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Cost: FREE
Start/Finish location: Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station; 9920 NE Cascades Pkwy; Portland, OR 97220
Requirements: Age 12 and up are welcome. Helmets and pre-registration are required.

Register today.

More Information

Questions about this event? Contact Susanne Raymond at or 503-281-1132.

This event is sponsored by the Portland Water Bureau, Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station, and Columbia Slough Watershed Council