GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
On Monday, Dec. 18, the Portland Water Bureau will begin turning off the city's Benson Bubbler drinking fountains because of predicted cold temperatures. Cold temperatures can cause safety hazards on sidewalks for pedestrians.
A few bubblers will be will be kept on—including one at Fifth Avenue and West Burnside Street, one on the waterfront near the west end of the Steel Bridge and one under the Burnside Bridge—to provide water to those who rely on them as their primary water source.
It takes about one day day to turn off all of the city’s iconic drinking fountains, but can take more time depending on weather and other factors. Benson Bubblers are turned off by hand.
Once temperatures warm up, all of the bubblers will be turned back on.
Main breaks, service leaks and frozen water meters can also occur as a result of cold weather. If you observe running water in the street, believe you are not receiving water from your meter, or experience an urgent water problem, please contact the Portland Water Bureau's 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503‐823‐4874.
For more information on the Benson Bubblers, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water/bensonbubblers.
Last year, Portland experienced 92 water main breaks throughout the city, keeping our Maintenance and Construction crews busy in the snow and freezing rain.
But while public water main breaks are often reported in the news, what about home plumbing breaks and other winter-weather plumbing problems?
Cold weather can cause serious damage to your home plumbing. Broken pipes, burst spigots, and other winter-weather water issues can cost you time and money.
Take these steps now to save money by protecting your home plumbing.
Protect Indoor Plumbing
Are You Winter Ready?
Get more winter preparedness tips and resources at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/winterprep.
Over 34,000 Water Bureau customers are paying their bills with AutoPay.
So why have so many people switched from paper bills to automatic payments for their sewer, stormwater, and water bills? Here’s what we’ve heard from them.
AutoPay is forget-proof.
Every day, you have a million little things to do and remember. And your to-do list probably doubles during the holidays.
Scheduled AutoPay payments are on time every time. No reminders needed. No late fees applied.
AutoPay helps avoid scammers
Although rare, utility scams such as “payment is required immediately” calls, do occur. By securely saving your credit card or checking account information to automatically pay your bill, you will know that it isn’t the Water Bureau calling for immediate payment.
AutoPay is commitment-free.
AutoPay is secure, fast, and easy to setup. Not sure if AutoPay is right for you? Give it a try. You’re free to cancel anytime.
AutoPay is budget-friendly.
AutoPay payments post to your bank account faster than a mailed check. This means AutoPay can make it easier for you to track your spending and manage your finances.
AutoPay pairs great with Paperless Billing.
When you sign up for AutoPay you will receive an email invite to sign up for Paperless Billing. As you will have the comfort of knowing that your bill will be paid automatically, why not save paper with this environmentally friendly option? Bill notifications and payment confirmation will be sent via email to keep you up to date.
The Water Bureau’s AutoPay program is making life easier for over 34,000 of our customers.
Give it a try. Sign up for AutoPay today.
The Portland Water Bureau received additional results from ongoing monitoring from the Bull Run Watershed intake for Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism.
Between Sunday, Dec. 3 and Wednesday, Dec. 6, three Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected from three separate 50-liter samples collected on Sunday, Dec. 3, Monday, Dec. 4, and Tuesday, Dec. 5. Cryptosporidium was not detected in the sample collected on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Prior to these detections, Cryptosporidium was last detected from the Bull Run Watershed intake on Nov. 28, 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.
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.
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.
Customers with questions regarding water quality can call the Water Line at 503-823-7525.
Fruitcake and main breaks: the uninvited guests of the holiday season.
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.
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.
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.
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.