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Portland Water Bureau

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

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info


Main Break Season 101: What to Expect, Who to Call, and How to Prepare

Fruitcake and main breaks: the uninvited guests of the holiday season.

Game of Thrones Meme: Main break season is coming...Main break season is officially here.

It’s that time of year when cold temperatures mix with aging water pipes. Cold air, and cold water, can cause old pipes to become brittle and sometimes crack and burst, sending water into streets and keeping our Maintenance and Construction crews busy fixing broken mains.

Anatomy of a Main Break

Portland has 2,200 miles of water pipe; many of them are around a century old. These pipes run under our streets and sidewalks, channeling water from city reservoirs to homes and taps across the metro area.

Our crews actively replace and repair old water pipes throughout the year, but, when cold snaps and freezing temps come to visit, things can go awry.

A main break occurs when a crack or a hole develops in one of these water main pipes. Sometimes water main breaks can be a slow leak, other times they can cause pools of water to form on city streets.

Temperatures are just one factor in causing a main break. The age of a pipe, soil conditions, pipe corrosion, and ground movement can also cause a main to weaken over time and break.

Prepare Your Home

Burst water pipes don’t just occur under city streets. Outdoor spigots, faucets, and irrigation systems are also susceptible to breaking and busting in cold weather.

Protect your home and avoid costly repairs by taking a few steps to winter-proof your home plumbing.

Be A Main Break Lookout

See water running from streets or sidewalks?

Spot a waterspout in the middle of the road?

Be a main break lookout! Help us find leaks before they cause significant damage or inconvenience for neighbors.

Report the leak to the Water Bureau’s 24-hour Emergency Line at 503-823-4874.

Fire Line Repair Continues into Thursday with Closure of Southwest Alder Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues

Portland Water Bureau crews continue repairing a fire line break on Southwest Alder Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

Southwest Alder will reopen between Fourth and Fifth avenues for the Wednesday evening commute and close again at 7 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 until repairs are completed later that day.

The traveling public is reminded to stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly slow or stop. To avoid traffic delays, motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes around the work site.

The Portland Water Bureau's Maintenance & Construction crews are ready to respond to emergencies, including water main breaks, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. On average, crews respond to 200 main breaks a year.

Fire Line Repair Closes Southwest Alder Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues

Portland Water Bureau crews are responding to a fire line break on Southwest Alder Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.  

Southwest Alder will remain closed between Fourth and Fifth avenues until repairs are completed later today.

The traveling public is reminded to stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly slow or stop. To avoid traffic delays, motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes around the work site. 

The Portland Water Bureau’s Maintenance & Construction crews are ready to respond to emergencies, including water main breaks, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. On average, crews respond to 200 main breaks a year. 

Dec . 4, 2017: Cryptosporidium Monitoring Update

Dec. 4, 2017 Crypto Monitoring UpdateThe Portland Water Bureau received additional results from ongoing monitoring from the Bull Run Watershed intake for Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism. Between Sunday, Nov. 26 and Wednesday, Nov. 29, one Cryptosporidium oocyst was detected from a 50-liter sample collected on Tuesday, Nov. 28. No Cryptosporidium was detected from three other samples collected during this time. Cryptosporidium was last detected from the Bull Run Watershed intake on Nov. 22, 2017.

The bureau continues to use the Bull Run as its primary source of drinking water. The Portland Water Bureau does not currently treat for Cryptosporidium, but is required to do so and is working to install treatment. The Portland Water Bureau continues to consult with OHA and local health officials regarding these detections. At this time, customers are not being asked to take any additional precautions.

About Cryptosporidium

Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, a serious illness. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach pain. People with healthy immune systems recover without medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with severely weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious disease. Symptoms may be more severe and could lead to serious or life-threatening illness. Examples of people with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS; those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system; and cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs.

EPA has estimated that a small percentage of the population could experience gastro-intestinal illness from Cryptosporidium and advises that customers who are immunocompromised and receive their drinking water from the Bull Run Watershed consult with their healthcare professional about the safety of drinking the tap water. The Portland Water Bureau and Burlington, City of Gresham, City of Sandy, City of Tualatin, Green Valley, GNR, Hideaway Hills, Lake Grove, Lorna Portland Water, Lusted, Palatine Hill, Pleasant Home, Raleigh, Rockwood, Skyview Acres, Tualatin Valley, Two Rivers, Valley View and West Slope Water Districts receive all or part of their drinking water supply from the Bull Run. To learn if your drinking water comes from Bull Run, please contact your local drinking water provider.

Public health surveillance during and after a similar series of low-level detections from January through March of this year did not see an increase in Cryptosporidium-related illness.

Water Sampling Results

The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at portlandoregon.gov/water/cryptoresults. The bureau will notify the media and public immediately should further test results indicate a risk to public health and precautions are necessary.

Water Quality Questions?

Customers with questions regarding water quality can call the Water Line at 503-823-7525.

How to Spot a Utility Scam This Holiday Season (And All Year Round)

How to spot utility scamsGuests are coming soon for the holidays, and you’re busy cleaning, cooking, and decorating. So what do you do when you get a call saying that your water will be shut off in the next two hours?

Don’t take the bait.

Here’s a few ways you can protect yourself and your wallet this holiday season.

5 Tips for Avoiding Scams

Not sure if a scammer is targeting you and your money? Look and listen for the key words and other topics below. Then follow the tips for stopping scammers in their tracks.

Don’t want to pay your bill online or in person?

Here’s what you should do: Hang up and call the Water Bureau at 503-823-7770.

The holidays are a busy time, and some scammers may try to take advantage of the hectic holidays by calling or showing up at your door, threatening utility service shut-off or fines and penalties.

  • Pre-paid debit cards: The Water Bureau will never ask that you make a payment by using a pre-paid debit card. Sometimes scammers may ask for a “GreenDot card”. We accept payment by check, money order, debit or credit card, or in-person cash at our offices at 111 SW Columbia St. Want to make sure you never miss a payment? Sign up for AutoPay and never worry about late fees or missed payments.
  • “Payment is required immediately.” If you feel pressured for immediate payment, hang up the phone and call our Customer Service Center at 503-823-7770.
  • No ID? No way. We’ll never ask to enter your home. Remember: Our service ends at the water meter, usually located at your curb. Unless you have a scheduled appointment with a Water Bureau representative, we’ll never ask to enter your home. And we always carry City-issued identification.
  • Email from the Water Bureau? If you receive an email that claims to be from the Water Bureau, look at the sender’s email address. Invoice notices will come from City of Portland, Oregon with the email address invoicecloud.com. (Invoice Cloud is the bureau’s bill pay and paperless billing provider.) Emails directly from a city employee will come from portlandoregon.gov. Questions? Get in touch!
  • Water line insurance offers. Have you been contacted about an offer to purchase water line insurance? While this type of insurance may not be a scam, the Water Bureau is a public utility and does not contract or affiliate with any insurance providers.

Suspect a scam? Report it.

If you think you’ve spotted a water related scam, please let us know by calling us at 503-823-7770 or email PWBCustomerService@portlandoregon.gov. When you let us know about potential scams, we warn others to make sure the scam is stopped.

You can also report suspected scams to the Federal Trade Commission to alert federal authorities.