GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
Today, Sept. 7, the Water Bureau is activating groundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field. The activation is in response to a temporary shortage of ammonia at our Lusted Hill treatment facility. This temporary chemical shortage resulted from transportation delays. A delivery is expected within the next 24 hours and will allow the bureau to return to 100 percent Bull Run.
Due to the shortage, the bureau is unable to treat a sufficient amount of water from the Bull Run to meet all customer demands. As a result, the bureau is blending groundwater at approximately 50 percent. It anticipates the need to use groundwater for up to a day.
The Columbia South Shore Well Field is a high-quality water supply which meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water regulations. It may take up to two weeks, depending on your location, for the change in source water to make its way through the distribution system to homes and businesses.
As a result of careful planning, Portland is fortunate to have access to two excellent water sources that allow us to be prepared to meet the range of conditions that occur in the Portland water system. Customers with questions are encouraged to call the Water Line at 503-823-7525.
The Eagle Creek Fire is one of the top fires in the nation.
The United Command is the lead agency in fighting this fire. The Portland Water Bureau is grateful that U.S. Forest Service has prioritized protection of the Bull Run Watershed among the many issues caused by the fire.
The Water Bureau’s top priority is protecting the water supply and facilities in the watershed, and keeping its staff safe. This morning’s update confirms that the fire remains on the edge of the protected area.
The U.S. Forest Service prepares and periodically updates a Fire Protection Plan for the Bull Run Management Unit in consultation with the Portland Water Bureau and the Oregon Department of Forestry. The plan includes specific provisions for fire prevention, detection, and suppression. The most current fire protection plan is available on the Portland Water Bureau website, posted at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/article/654687.
The Portland Water Bureau does not have a direct firefighting role. The bureau works closely with the agencies in charge, which include U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and local fire departments. The bureau provides information to the joint fire command to support management of the fires and protection of the watershed.
On Monday, Sept. 4, U.S. Forest Service notified the Portland Water Bureau that, if necessary, it would use fire retardant to fight the Eagle Creek fire. Under the terms of the Fire Protection Plan, U.S. Forest Service is authorized to use retardant under certain circumstances.
To date, fire retardant has not been used to combat this fire, including in the watershed.
“The U.S. Forest Service will not normally make retardant drops in avoidance area,” said Oregon State Fire Marshal and Portland Fire & Rescue representative Lt. Damon Simmons. “Number one on the list of avoidance areas is watersheds. Retardant is not dropped on watersheds unless there is an imminent threat to life.”
The Portland Water Bureau has taken steps to prepare for the possible use of retardant by the U.S. Forest Service.
The bureau continues to monitor water quality to ensure that the water remains safe. The U.S. Forest Service Fire Protection Plan and national policy prohibit the use of retardant near waterways. In the unlikely event that any retardant enters the water supply, the most likely impact would be an increase in the water’s nutrient load and a potential increase in algae production.
The Portland Water Bureau continues to work closely with the Incident Command, which has the authority to manage the fire. In the event that retardant is used, the Portland Water Bureau will share that information with the public as soon as it is notified by U.S. Forest Service.
Read the latest news and updates about the Eagle Creek fire and the Bull Run Watershed here.
The Indian Creek Fire and Eagle Creek Fire are burning in the Columbia River Gorge. Smoke has made it difficult to discern the exact location of the fire. The Water Bureau is working with federal and state agencies to determine the proximity of the Indian Creek Fire to the boundary of the Bull Run Watershed, the primary drinking water supply for the Portland-metro area. At this time, the fire is not near the drinking water reservoirs or water supply infrastructure. Water from the Bull Run continues to be safe to drink.
The Portland Water Bureau has been working closely with the agencies in charge of fighting these fires since the start of the Indian Creek Fire in early July. They include the U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and local fire departments. The Portland Water Bureau is regularly providing information to the joint fire command to fully support management of the fires.
Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown briefed Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Nick Fish on the status of the fires. Portland Water Bureau Director Michael Stuhr stated, “I am thankful for the close working relationship with our partner government agencies.”
As a precautionary measure, the Water Bureau has postponed all non-critical work in the watershed to minimize risk to staff and property. Ash is not currently impacting water quality and has not been a problem during past fires near the watershed. The Water Bureau will continue to monitor water quality on a daily basis.
If the need arises to switch to the Columbia South Shore Well Field, this high-quality secondary water supply is ready for activation.
In observance of the Labor Day holiday, Portland Water Bureau offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 4.
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, Sept. 5, 2017 at 8 a.m.
During the holiday, Water Bureau customers are invited to pay their bill in the following ways:
To report a water system emergency, contact the 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503-823-4874.