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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

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

More Contact Info


Protect Your Home's Plumbing this Winter

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Rain, ice and snow can play havoc with water pipes. Below are tips for protecting your home’s plumbing this winter:

OUTSIDE PLUMBING

  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the home.
  • Close all foundation vents and fill vent openings with wood or StyrofoamTM blocks.
  • Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation if you don’t have a separate outside valve to turn them off. Use molded foam-insulating covers which are available at hardware stores. Newspaper or rags (covered with plastic wrap) are another option. 
  • Disconnect garden hoses and drain in-ground irrigation systems.

INSIDE PLUMBING

  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as attics, crawl spaces and basements.
  • When below-freezing weather is forecast, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows these pipes to get more heat from inside your home.
  • If you leave home for several days, put your furnace on a low setting. This may not prevent freezing pipes but it can help.
  • Let a slight drip of water run when temperatures dip below freezing. Use cold water to avoid water heating charges.

WHAT IF PIPES FREEZE?

  • Thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer. Once the pipe has thawed, make sure to leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again.
  • Do not open the water meter box near the curb. It could increase the chance of freezing water at the meter.

WHAT IF PIPES BREAK?

  • Close your main water shut-off valve to your house. Most shutoff valves are located where the water line enters the house, either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, or basement near the hot water heater, or inside the garage.
  • Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shut-off valve on the cold water inlet.
  • Remember, the repair of broken pipes on the customer’s side of the meter is the customer’s responsibility. Contact a plumber for repair work.

The Water Bureau reminds customers that the best way to handle any sort of water emergency in your home including broken pipes is to be prepared before it happens. Taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the plumbing system in your home and note the location of all shut off valves are important steps in preventing a plumbing emergency from turning into a disaster. 

Customers that experience urgent water problems should call the Portland Water Bureau’s 24/7 emergency hotline at 503-823-4874.

UPDATE 12/2/15 - Bubblers Again Serving Bull Run Drinking Water Throughout the City

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UPDATE -- Dec. 2, 2015
Bubblers Again Serving Bull Run Drinking Water Throughout the City
With the weather warming up, Portland's iconic Benson Bubblers are being turned back on.

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On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the Portland Water Bureau will begin turning off the city's Benson Bubbler drinking fountains because of predicted cold temperatures and wind, which can cause safety hazards on sidewalks for pedestrians. Each of the 130 bubblers is turned off by hand.

Two bubblers will be will be kept on – one on the Westside at Fifth Avenue and West Burnside Street and one on the waterfront near the west end of the Steel Bridge – to provide water to those who rely on them as their primary water source.

The Water Bureau has alerted 211Info, asking them to contact homeless service providers to make water available to homeless people who depend on Benson Bubblers.

Once temperatures warm up, the iconic 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.

Water Pipe Insurance Policies not Affiliated with Portland Water Bureau

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Private home insurance companies are again conducting sales mailings offering water service line insurance in Portland.

The Portland Water Bureau wants to remind our customers that such offers are not associated with the City of Portland, nor does the Portland Water Bureau have any connection with such companies, or any other such insurance carrier. 

These private companies send letters to Portland residents offering a repair plan for the water service line extending from the resident’s house to the water distribution pipeline, which usually runs from the water meter in front of the house.

These letters state that the line extending from the house to the water meter is the homeowner’s responsibility. This means that if the pipeline experiences a crack or break, the resident is responsible for all associated costs.

While this is in fact true, some sales literature from such insurance companies has confused some residents, making them feel that they are required to have an insurance policy that is separate from their homeowner’s policy to cover any water utility line damage. This is not true.

Here are the facts that you need to know:

  • There are no laws that require you to insure the water line.
  • It is completely up to you to decide whether you want or need this type of coverage, and through which company you want to buy such a policy.
  • If you receive a phone call from a sales person employed by a private company and they introduce themselves as having a relationship with the “water department,” this is false information. The Water Bureau is a public utility, and does not contract/affiliate with any insurance providers.

Before signing an annual insurance plan that protects your water service line, the Water Bureau urges caution. Some plans may be legitimate offers, but make sure to examine the fine print. For example, letters received by customers in 2012 noted, in small print, that the private companies’ insurance plan will not pay for residential plumbing services if the water line fails due to “acts of God,” frozen pipes, faulty construction or maintenance, or “normal wear and tear.”

If you are interested in water service line insurance, the Water Bureau encourages you to consider the following information:

  • Review your homeowner's policy and determine if water line coverage is already provided. If you do have water line coverage, make sure to contact your insurance company and ask how this coverage would work in conjunction with an annual insurance plan.
  • Determine if you have prior issues with your water line pipes or if there have been any issues in your neighborhood. This will help you in deciding the necessity of purchasing an annual insurance plan.
  • Compare several private insurance policies to make sure you find the policy the best suits your needs.
  • Read the fine print in the annual insurance plan carefully.
  • Check the company standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Business Review and see their rating and any past government actions or advertising concerns BBB has found.

If you are ever suspicious of anything related to your water service, please call the Water Bureau Customer Service hotline at 503-823-7770.

Winter 2016 Customer Newsletter

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Winter 2016 Customer Newsletter

Each quarter, the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau offer important information on rebates, payment options, drinking water quality and water efficiency tips in printed inserts that accompany your sewer-stormwater-water bill. 

In the Winter 2016 statement, customers will find a newsletter highlighting improvements to data security, the work of a new independent oversight body, preparing for main break season, upcoming events, and more!

The Customer Newsletter can also be accessed online.

Join Our Team: Environmental Technician II & Water Quality Inspector II

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If 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 Opportunities at the Water Bureau

Position Emp. Type Salary Closing Date
Environmental Technician II Full Time $26.64 - $33.99 Hourly Tue. 12/08/15 4:30 PM Pacific Time
Water Quality Inspector II Full Time $26.05 - $33.67 Hourly Mon. 12/21/15 4:30 PM Pacific Time

Learn More about the Water Bureau 

Questions
For more information regarding jobs at the Water Bureau, contact the Water Administrative Manager at 503-823-1956 or by e-mail