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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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Frozen Water Pipes and Your Home: What You Need to Know

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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.

So what happens if you’ve prepared your home plumbing for winter and your pipes still freeze?

First, to determine if pipes are frozen, turn on faucets throughout the home. If some faucets work and others do not, you may have a frozen pipe.

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.

Get Cold Weather Plumbing Preparation Tips

Find out how to prepare your home water systems for freezing temperatures with this helpful cold-weather preparation guide from the Portland Water Bureau.

Be Our Eyes and Ears: Winter is Main Break Season

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.

It’s Fix-It Fair Season!

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Water Bureau employees provide water-saving resources at a Fix-It Fair in 2015.

Upcoming Fix-It Fairs
Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017
9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
George Middle School
10000 N Burr Ave.
Portland, OR 97203

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017
9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Madison High School
2735 NE 82nd Ave.
Portland, OR 97220

The Portland Water Bureau is a proud sponsor of the City of Portland’s Fix-It Fairs.

A Fix-It Fair is a free event with exhibits and workshops that cover topics including water and energy savings, food and nutrition, recycling, home weatherization, gardening and growing food, yard care and composting and transportation. 

Attendees can also get free lead blood testing, free lunch, free professional childcare and hourly door prizes. Free minor bike tune-ups and flat-tire repairs are available for students and families.

Fix-It Fairs are presented by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability with support from the Energy Trust of Oregon, KBOO, KUNP Univision, Pacific Power, the Portland Water Bureau and the City of Portland.

For more information about Fix-It Fairs, visit

Portland Water Bureau Offices Closed January 16 in Observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

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In observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Portland Water Bureau offices will be closed on Monday, January 16, 2017.

This includes both the Customer Service Call Center and the Customer Service Walk-In Service Center located on the first floor at 1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, Oregon. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 8 a.m. 

During the holiday, Water Bureau customers are invited to pay their bill in the following ways:

  • Online
  • Pay by phone by dialing 503-823-7770 and press 1
  • Drop off: Leave a payment in the Water Bureau's night box located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue to the left of the building's front doors

To report a water system emergency, contact the 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503-823-4874.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 01/16/17: Water Main Repair Closes Right Southbound Lane at Barbur Boulevard near Hamilton Street

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Portland Water Bureau crews are responding to a water  main break on the shoulder of Barbur Boulevard near Hamilton Street.

To assess and repair the damaged water pipe, crews must reduce Barbur to one southbound lane near Hamilton Street until approximately 5 p.m. today.

The main is an 8-inch cast iron pipe from 1941.

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. Members of the public are encouraged to report suspected main breaks to the Water Bureau's 24-hour Emergency Line at 503-823-4874.

Whatever Your Life's Work Is, Do It Well

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Water Bureau crews fix water main break

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we reflect on the public service the Water Bureau provides to the city. We are indeed fortunate to have such a strong workforce dedicated to public safety and the delivery of clean, safe, high quality water.

Crews install new pipeDuring this most recent freeze period, the Portland Water Bureau Maintenance and Construction crews responded to over 45 main breaks since last Monday; ten main breaks occurred throughout the city just this weekend. Two main breaks occurred in Northeast Portland, six in Southwest Portland and two in Southeast Portland. Our dedicated crews have gone from site to site in freezing temperatures to keep families in water and traffic moving around the city. Throughout the repairs, we have coordinated with our partners at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) who help keep the roads safe.

Broken water main

At the Portland Water Bureau, we consider this time of the year to be Main Break Season. We see approximately 200 main breaks per year, which is relatively low compared to cities of comparable size. This is because of our low-corrosive soil. In a short amount of time, freezing temperatures have caused nearly a quarter of our average 200 main breaks per year in one week.

Prepare Your Pipes for Winter Weather

You can learn more about main breaks and preventing home plumbing from freezing at