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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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Water Bureau Offices Closed for Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 11

Portland Water Bureau logoIn observance of the Veterans Day holiday, Portland Water Bureau offices will be closed on Monday, Nov. 11.

Offices will reopen on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 at 8 a.m. The Customer Service Call Center will reopen at 8 a.m. The Customer Service Walk-In Center will reopen at 7:30 a.m.

How to Pay Your Utility Bill

During the holiday, Water Bureau customers can pay their bill in the following ways:

  • Online: Click here
  • Phone: Pay by phone by dialing 503-823-7770 and pressing 1
  • Drop box: Payments can be deposited at a drop box at the Portland Water Bureau Interstate Facility at 664 N. Tillamook St. The box is located outside of the double doors to our Customer Service Walk-In Office.

Water Emergency Hotline

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

Working Together as a City to Prioritize Fire Suppression

Charles Smith, Deputy Director of Maintenance & Construction, gives a tour of the Water Bureau's supply of hydrants.

Without water, firefighters wouldn’t be able to do their job, but it’s our duty to make sure the fire hydrants are properly working at all times.

On any given day Charles Smith says there are a few dozen hydrants waiting to be replaced, but that’s dramatically less than a few years ago when it was common for more than 100 to be out.

“As we see the numbers creeping up we make it a priority to get the numbers back down to a manageable number,” said Charles Smith, Deputy Director for Maintenance and Construction.

Smith jokes the city’s fire hydrants are almost magnets for drunk drivers. Car crashes are a major factor in what leads to an average of 270 hydrant replacements every year.

October was National Fire Prevention Month, and the Water Bureau’s efforts in maintaining functioning hydrants and ensuring the system works properly is a key ingredient in stopping fires from spreading.

The bureau has more than 14,000 hydrants it takes care of. That number is growing due to increased development throughout the city.

The goal is to have a working hydrant every 500 feet citywide.

“It’s a focus for us because it’s an essential service that we provide to the city,” Smith said.

Multiple Benefits for Fire Suppression Planning

Besides the immediate need for fire suppression, having a fully functional system of fire hydrants gives Portland Fire & Rescue a preferential reading for insurance purposes and can lower homeowner’s insurance rates as well.

The improved response time has been a focus for Maintenance and Construction crews, due partly to better planning.

“If we have an opportunity to replace three in one shut down so that we don’t impact the neighborhood multiple times, we’ll go in and cut in a series of new valves and new hydrants at the same time,” Smith said.

Keep Your Home and Family Safe: How to Prevent Fires

Educating yourself and others about fire safety, injury and illness prevention, and disaster preparedness helps to keep everyone safe.

Learn the steps you can take to keep your home, family, business, and community safe from fires.

Nov. 1, 2019: Cryptosporidium Monitoring Update

Since 2017, the Portland Water Bureau has detected low levels of Cryptosporidium from routine monitoring. Monitoring results were received from the Bull Run Watershed intake for Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism. One Cryptosporidium oocyst was detected in the 50-liters sampled on both Tuesday, Oct. 29 and Wednesday, Oct. 30. Low level Cryptosporidium detections may continue through the rainy season. Prior to these detections, Cryptosporidium was last detected from the Bull Run Watershed intake on Oct. 22, 2019.

The Bull Run watershed is Portland’s primary source of drinking water. The Portland Water Bureau does not currently treat for Cryptosporidium, but is required to do so under drinking water regulations. Portland is working to install filtration by September 2027 under a compliance schedule with Oregon Health Authority. In the meantime, Portland Water Bureau is implementing interim measures such as watershed protection and additional monitoring to protect public health. Consultation with public health officials has concluded that at this time, customers do not need to take any additional precautions.

About Cryptosporidium

Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, a serious illness. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach pain. People with healthy immune systems recover without medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with severely weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious disease. Symptoms may be more severe and could lead to serious or life-threatening illness. Examples of people with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS; those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system; and cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that a small percentage of the population could experience gastro-intestinal illness from Cryptosporidium and advises that customers who are immunocompromised and receive their drinking water from the Bull Run Watershed consult with their healthcare professional about the safety of drinking the tap water. The Portland Water Bureau and Burlington, City of Gresham, City of Sandy, City of Tualatin, Green Valley, GNR, Hideaway Hills, Lake Grove, Lorna Domestic Water, Lusted, Palatine Hill, Pleasant Home, Raleigh, Rockwood, Skyview Acres, Tualatin Valley, Two Rivers, Valley View and West Slope Water Districts receive all or part of their drinking water supply from the Bull Run. To learn if your drinking water comes from Bull Run, please contact your local drinking water provider.

More Information

The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at The bureau will notify the media and public immediately should further test results indicate a risk to public health and precautions are necessary.

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

Portland's Drinking Water: What You Need to Know About Cryptosporidium

Portland’s water is safe to drink for the general population.

We’d like to clear up some information after a news report last week on Cryptosporidium caused some confusion.

Last week’s Cryptosporidium detection is part of a seasonal pattern we have seen since 2017. Portland’s water is safe to drink for the general population.

As always, people who are severely immune-compromised, such as people who have had an organ transplant, HIV/AIDS, or cancer treatment, should consult with their health care providers about the safety of drinking tap water. Those people may consider drinking bottled water or using a water filter and can find additional information in this educational brochure.

History of Cryptosporidium Detections

Since 2017, we have detected Cryptosporidium seasonally during the rainy season. Last week’s detection is the first detection we’ve had this rainy season, and low-level Cryptosporidium detections may continue through the winter. During last year’s rainy season (October 2018 through May 2019), we had 38 days with a low-level detection of Cryptosporidium. When we detect Cryptosporidium, we post the results online.

We are working in close contact with our public health partners at Multnomah County and the state who are monitoring our community’s public health. At this time, they have not found an increase in illness and are advising that customers do not need to take any additional precautions. The Portland Water Bureau is ready to tell the public if additional precautions become necessary. Accurate, up-to-date information about your drinking water is available on official Portland Water Bureau accounts at Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, and the Water Blog.


Immune-compromised customers are encouraged to contact their health care provider. For all other questions about Cryptosproidium, contact the Water Bureau’s Water Quality Line at 503-823-7525.

Cryptosporidium Background

The Bull Run Watershed is a highly protected unfiltered drinking water source. Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism, is occasionally found in the Bull Run drinking water supply. Exposure to Cryptosporidium in drinking water, especially for those with a condition that severely weakens their immune system, can lead to potentially serious illness.

Portland is working to install filtration by September 2027 under a compliance schedule with Oregon Health Authority. The Bull Run Filtration Project will remove Cryptosporidium and other contaminants from the Bull Run water supply, producing cleaner, safer water for the one million people who use our water now and for future generations. In the meantime, Portland Water Bureau is implementing interim measures such as watershed protection and additional monitoring to protect public health. Learn more about Cryptosporidium on our Information on Cryptosporidium webpage.

Join Our Team: Strategic Analyst at the Portland Water Bureau

Portland Water Bureau logoIf 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 600 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   Employment Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Strategic Analyst (Analyst II) Full Time (Limited Duration) $65,811.00–$109,491.00 Annually Fri. 11/15/2019 11:59 PM Pacific 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.