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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

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Attend the Tuesday, May 2 Meeting of the Portland Utility Board

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Portland Utility Board meetingThe Portland Water Bureau is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality water in the country. To do this, we work closely with our partners to make sure we deliver on our promise to provide fresh, clean water from forest to faucet.

One of these partners is the Portland Utility Board (PUB).

What is the Portland Utility Board?

Created in 2015, the Portland Utility Board is a group of volunteer community members who advise City Council on water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste financial plans and rates. Acting as a citizen oversight body for the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services, the Portland Utility Board meets once per month to develop advisory plans that establish fair and equitable rates and promote the long-term financial stability of the Water Bureau.

Attend the Next PUB Meeting

Come see how the Portland Utility Board works for you by attending a monthly meeting. The next PUB meeting will be held tomorrow! Meeting information is below.

Date: Tuesday, May 1
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location: The Portland Building, Room C

For more information about the Portland Utility Board, including meeting minutes and agenda, visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/68272.

Changing History at Mt. Tabor Park: A Project Update

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Times are a changin’. From Washington Park to Mt. Tabor, how does a government agency preserve history while adhering to federal drinking water regulations?

The short answer is: Thoughtfully and with input from all our partners – neighbors, the public, our contractors, regulatory agencies, and in-house Water Bureau experts. The long answer is what follows.

Background

On June 3, 2013 the Portland City Council announced that the city will move forward to meet the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule compliance deadline. This rule, also known as the LT2 rule, affects uncovered finished drinking water reservoirs.

It was agreed that the Water Bureau would disconnect the Mt. Tabor reservoirs from the potable water system by the end of 2015. The Water Bureau met the requirement in December of that year by physically separating the reservoirs from all connections to the distribution system.

With the reservoirs disconnected, extensive piping work was required to reroute and intertie the conduits and mains that formerly fed the reservoirs in order to maintain system functionality.  The majority of the work was done inside Mt. Tabor Park, including the installation of approximately 1,000 feet of 48-inch diameter steel main part of which went through the park’s dog off-leash area. Altogether, construction work was conducted in seven areas of the park, most of them in high- traffic pedestrian and bicycle paths.

Mt. Tabor Dog Park ImprovementsThe Water Bureau made every effort to alert park users about construction impacts or road and trail closures using signs, email and via the bureau’s website.

While there were a few hiccups (weather related delays), the project went very well. Here at the bureau, we are very appreciative of the patience shown by park users and local residents.

What’s Next for the Reservoirs?

Reservoir #5 with view of downtown Portland, taken 1935

Reservoir #5 with view of downtown Portland. Photo taken circa 1935.

While the reservoirs no longer supply drinking water to city residents, they continue to be an asset to the City and are an integral and historic part of Mt. Tabor Park.

As part of the Land Use Review, the Water Bureau worked with City Council and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) to determine how the reservoirs and historic architectural features would be operated and managed over the next four years. Now that the reservoirs are not part of the water system and no longer generate electricity, oversight of the dams has shifted from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to the State of Oregon Water Resources Department. 

The Water Bureau and members of the MTNA are charged with exploring alternative methods to maintain clean water at historic levels, and to maximize the number of days the reservoirs are full, in order to preserve the character of the reservoirs and the park in the most efficient and sustainable manner possible.

Besides maintaining the reservoirs, the City of Portland has committed $4 million over the next four years to begin restoration of the historic integrity of the reservoirs and their buildings, walls and fences.  A project team comprised of Portland Water Bureau and Parks Bureau staff and representatives of the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association and the Friends of Mount Tabor Park are managing the implementation of the activities related to the Mt. Tabor Reservoirs Historic Preservation Project.

More Information

Watch for more information on this project at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/mttabor

Tuesday Water Trivia

Crews installing new water mainWhen you turn on your facuet to pour a refreshing glass of cold water, do you ever stop to think about how that that water made it to your house?

From repairs to preventative maintenance, our crews are responsible for maining a vast and complicated underground system of pipes and mains that deliver hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to homes and businesses every day.

If the Portland Water Bureau stretched pipes end to end, to which city would it reach?

(A) Las Vegas
(B) Missoula
(C) Chicago

Answer:

(C) Chicago

More than 2,200 miles of pipe deliver water throughout the Portland metropolitan area. That's a lot of pipe that water rate payers maintain. Some mains are 100-years-old -- that's calling "aging infrastructure" in the bureau's budget discussions.

Learn more about our water system here.

The Water Bureau and IRC Aluminum Team Up to Conserve 815,000 Gallons of Water Each Year

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What do you call it when Oregon’s largest water provider partners with local businesses to find ways to conserve water and save money? Some might say it’s a pretty BIG deal.

The Portland Water Bureau’s Business, Industry, and Government (BIG) Water Efficiency Program helps businesses find ways to conserve water by diagnosing increases in water usage, finding inefficient or malfunctioning equipment, and helping to improve existing methods and processes.

One local business that’s found ways to save money and reduce water use through the BIG Program is IRC Aluminum & Stainless.


The waterjets at work

IRC Aluminum & Stainless

Located in North Portland’s industrial district, IRC Aluminum & Stainless is a local, family-owned metal distributor providing waterjet cutting services for companies all across the country. IRC’s client list includes machine shops, government and defense agencies, construction companies, and many other heavy industrial groups.

IRC also works with creative groups that build and install commercial and wayfinding signage for large medical complexes, sports stadiums, and universities. The Moda Center? IRC made their exterior and interior signage. The “Silicon Forest” public art at the Interstate/Rose Quarter Yellow Line MAX station? IRC fabricated the station artwork designed by Brian Borrello.

To find out more about this local business’ experience with our BIG Program, we sat down with Jackson Ford, an outside sales representative at IRC Aluminum & Stainless, to ask him a few questions and tour their large industrial facility.

How did you find out about the BIG Program?


Jackson Ford poses with a piece of material cut with the waterjets

An employee of ours contacted the Portland Water Bureau a few years ago about commercial water efficiency incentives offered by the City of Portland. At the time, IRC had designed and constructed a new closed-loop water system to reuse the water that was being circulated through the chillers that cool our waterjet machines.

The new system produced dramatic results almost immediately. After telling our story, the Portland Water Bureau came out to IRC's facility and inspected the new water reuse system. Soon after their analysis, we were invited to join the BIG Program.

Tell us about your experience with the BIG Program? How did the process work for your company?

The Big Program was great for IRC. We have always made it a major priority within our company to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also contributes to preserving the state's resources and minimizing our carbon footprint as an industrial company. IRC was eventually presented with an award by the BIG Program for our new water system and its proven efficiency.

How much water are you saving now?

As a result of the newly implemented water system, IRC was able to save and reuse approximately 815,000 gallons of water annually. This equates to about 28% in direct water savings based on our previous operational water use.

Are there any other efficiencies that resulted from the BIG Program?

Since participating in the BIG Program, IRC has entertained many other avenues for constant improvement to our daily operational efficiency, including using less costly and more environmentally friendly backing materials during the cutting process. We also upgraded to more modern and fuel-efficient trucks. Recently, IRC installed new energy efficient lighting throughout our cutting and warehousing facilities.


IRC was able to save and reuse approximately 815,000 gallons of water annually.

What would you say to another business that is thinking about reach out to the BIG Program?

If there are clearly major areas where cost-effective efficient changes can be made, then I would strongly recommend doing so to any small local business.

Often times there may be major expenses and capital improvements associated with making an efficiency upgrade. But they tend to pay for themselves in the long-run. And those savings can make a big impact on your bottom line. The BIG Program is an excellent incentive for companies looking to make a difference for themselves and the City of Portland.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We’d like to thank the Portland Water Bureau and the BIG Program for giving us the opportunity to showcase our efforts towards water efficiency.

Learn More About the BIG Program

Interested in learning how the BIG Program can help your business save water and money? Visit our Commercial Water Efficiency page for more information, commercial water savings tips, and contact details.

Join Our Team: Water Treatment Operator II

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 Opportunity at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Water Treatment Operator II  Full Time  $26.31 - $34.01 Hourly Mon. 6/12/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time Apply Here!

All completed applications for this position must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on the closing date and hour of this recruitment. E-mailed and/or faxed applications will not be accepted.

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Questions 

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