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Portland Water Bureau

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


1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Month in Review: National Preparedness Month

Are you prepared for a disaster?How prepared are you for a disaster or emergency?

September was National Preparedness Month and everyone from the Department of Homeland Security to Sesame Street was sharing reminders about the importance of planning and preparing for emergencies.

Get Your Kit Together with Water Storage

One very important way to prepare for emergencies is to keep enough clean water on hand in case our water system is damaged. What happens if water lines are damaged and you can’t just turn on the tap? How much water do you need to survive a local disaster or emergency? How can you ensure a supply of safe water for your family?

It’s recommended that you keep one gallon per person per day on hand in case of an emergency.

See how your neighbors prepare by storing water. In an emergency, everyone has a role to play.

What’s your role?

More Preparedness Information

Find more videos to see how Portlanders are preparing by visiting

Join Our Team: Utility Locator

We're HiringIf 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 
Utility Locator  Full Time $25.56 - $27.50 Hourly Tues. 10/10/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time  Apply Here!

Learn More About the Water Bureau


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

Cryptosporidium Detected in Bull Run Drinking Water

The Portland Water Bureau received results today from a sample collected on Sept. 27 that was positive for Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism. The detection was from a sample collected from the Bull Run Watershed intake as part of ongoing monitoring for Cryptosporidium. One Cryptosporidium oocyst was detected in the 10-liter sample. This detection follows a detection of a single oocyst from a 10-liter sample collected on Sunday, Sept 24. Eighteen other 10-liter samples collected between Sept 24 and Sept. 27 were all negative for Cryptosporidium

 “Even from a highly protected watershed such as the Bull Run, it is not unusual to detect low levels of Cryptosporidium from wildlife sources. We continuously monitor the rate of human illness caused by Cryptosporidium and will know if there is an increase” said Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis. “Fortunately, there has never been a documented outbreak of Cryptosporidium linked to Bull Run water.”

Cryptosporidium detections at these low levels are not expected to result in an impact to public health. Public health surveillance during and after a series of low-level detections from January through March of this year did not see an increase in Cryptosporidium related disease. While the general public is not being advised to take additional precautions, as always, the bureau recommends that people with severely weakened immune systems seek specific advice from their health care providers about drinking water.

“Together with our public health partners at Multnomah County, we continue to believe Bull Run water is safe to drink,” said Portland Water Bureau Administrator Michael Stuhr. “We will continue monitoring our water and working with our health partners to make the best decisions for public health in our community.”

Portland Water Bureau has been monitoring for Cryptosporidium under conditions of a variance for the treatment of Cryptosporidium issued by its regulators at the Oregon Health Authority. As a result of the detections earlier this year, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) informed the Portland Water Bureau that the variance would be revoked no later than Nov. 22, 2017. On Aug. 2, City Council directed the bureau to construct a water filtration plant to meet the treatment requirements. The Portland Water Bureau will submit a schedule for construction of a filtration plant and ongoing measures to continue to protect public health to OHA by Oct. 11.

The bureau will continue to sample the Bull Run for Cryptosporidium; gather information about these detections; and notify the public, its regulators and health officials of any additional detections.

The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at

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

Success on the Spillway: Repairing the Dam 2 Spillway

Industrial painters on dam spillway

The Water Bureau industrial painting crew knows how to hustle.

A three-person team, the Water Bureau industrial painters are responsible for cleaning, painting, and maintaining a variety of critical Water Bureau infrastructure: water tanks, offline reservoirs, and dams and spillways inside the Bull Run Watershed. Basically, anything that sits above ground or in a vault and delivers water will get a visit from our industrial painting crew.

Painters paint spillway

The Water Bureau painters’ most recent challenge was washing, repairing, and re-caulking the Dam 2 spillway. The Dam 2 spillway carries overflow water from Dam 2 downstream to the Bull Run River. Last year, the Water Bureau Operations workgroup developed a three-year plan to replace and repair the caulking that holds together the large concrete slabs that make up the spillway.

Then, early this year, the Oroville Dam incident occurred.

This well-reported incident prompted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency responsible for overseeing the safety of our country’s dams, to increase inspection schedules for several spillways across the country, including the Water Bureau’s own Dam 2 spillway. After working alongside FERC officials to assess the repair plan, it was decided that—in light of the Oroville Dam incident, and due to the age of the Dam 2 spillway—the bureau would accelerate spillway re-caulking before the rainy winter months.

Spillway repairs

This schedule adjustment meant that the entire spillway would have to be washed, repaired, and re-caulked within one year, as opposed to the original three-year schedule.

Cue the scramble. Our industrial painters hustled throughout the summer, working through hot weather on even hotter concrete, with some days reaching more than 105 degrees.

The work involved pressure washing the spillway, removing the old caulking material, installing new foam backing to prevent caulk seepage, and caulking along the seam of the entire Dam 2 spillway.

The painting crew’s hustle paid off. They finished the repair work within two months. One full year ahead of schedule.


*drops paintbrush*

An Emergency Activation: The Eagle Creek Fire in the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit

On Saturday, Sept. 2, what later became known as the Eagle Creek Fire was sparked in the Columbia River Gorge. It quickly combined with the Indian Creek Fire already burning near the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit. The combined fire currently encompasses 48,831 acres (as of Sept. 28) and has burned along the northern border of the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit. Approximately 100 to 150 acres burned inside the BRWMU but not the drainage area. The Bull Run reservoirs and water supply infrastructure were not near the areas that burned.

To respond to any potential impacts of the fire on the watershed or water operations, the Water Bureau activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) the week of Sept. 4.

The EOC is where bureau staff convene to track, plan, and coordinate response efforts in an emergency. During the most recent activation to track the Eagle Creek Fire, the bureau’s GIS experts worked with bureau partners to collect data and create accurate, up-to-date maps of the fire’s perimeter in relation to the watershed.

Who is in charge of fighting the fire?

The United Command is the lead agency in fighting this fire. The Portland Water Bureau does not have a direct firefighting role. The bureau coordinates closely with the agencies in charge, which include U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office. The bureau supported these agencies with information, maps and gate access to support management of the fires and protection of the watershed.

Engineers and Operations team members expertly managed the water distribution system, tracking system performance and water quality. Resource Protection staff worked with partners and watershed staff – including security and other on-the-ground personnel – to coordinate efforts with partner agencies and monitor watershed health. The Communication staff, including the Public Information Officer, responded to media inquiries and collaborated with bureau staff and external partners to share accurate and timely information with the bureau, the public, and stakeholders.

Thank you to the dedicated Portland Water Bureau professionals who logged many hours during this incident, the bureau’s longest EOC activation in our history. And special recognition is deserved for the firefighters and first responders battling Oregon’s forest fires and providing relief to Oregonians displaced during the 2017 fire season.

Learn more about the Eagle Creek Fire in the Bull Run Watershed by visiting the incident updates page on InciWeb.