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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

More Contact Info


Update: June 11 Administrative Review Committee meeting postponed to a later date

Update: The June 11 Administrative Review Committee meeting has been postponed to a later date

The Administrative Review Committee (ARC) reviews ratepayer requests for account adjustments, proposed account actions, and other disputes concerning water, sewer, and/or stormwater accounts. The purpose of the Committee is to review account issues that ratepayers have been unable to resolve with the bureaus’ Customer Services group. The Committee weighs policies, rates and special circumstances when reviewing an account. The Committee may accept the customer’s request, offer with an alternate remedy, or deny the appeal. Administrative Review Committee decisions are bureau decisions.

Date TBD

Pioneer Tower

Bureau of Environmental Services Pioneer Room, 4th Floor

888 SW 5th Avenue

Portland OR 97201

1.  Welcome: Read preamble for ARC.

2.  Public Comments: Members of the public are invited to introduce themselves and to state their interest in attending the meeting. Anyone who wishes to speak about matters pertaining to the ARC will have the floor for two minutes.

3.  New Business: The Administrative Review Committee will hear two customer appeals about water, sewer and/or stormwater billing.

The Administrative Review Committee is made up of:

  • One representative from the Portland Water Bureau, confirmed by the Commissioner-in-Charge.
  • One representative from the Bureau of Environmental Services, confirmed by the Commissioner-in-Charge.
  • One member of the Portland Utility Board.

For more information

City of Portland Water, Sewer, and/or Stormwater Billing Appeal Policy (ADM-14.02)

Questions? Contact us at 503-865-2755 or PWBCustomerService@portlandoregon.gov

The City of Portland ensures meaningful access to City programs, services, and activities to comply with Civil Rights Title VI and ADA Title II laws and reasonably provides: translation, interpretation, modifications, accommodations, alternative formats, auxiliary aids and services. To request these services, contact 503-823-7432, City TTY 503-823-6868, Relay Service: 711.

                                   

Check out the 2019 Drinking Water Quality Report!

The 2019 Drinking Water Quality Report outlines how we are continuing to deliver clean and safe drinking water to nearly a million customers.

Portland’s drinking water comes from two high-quality sources—the Bull Run Watershed and Columbia South Shore Well Field.

What’s in the Report?

The report summarizes water quality results for 2018 and includes information about how we monitor, treat, and distribute your drinking water. The report also provides information on Portland’s drinking water system and how customers can reduce their exposure to lead in drinking water, including by requesting a free-lead-in-water test kit.

Making Excellent Water Better

The report also highlights two major treatment improvements Portland is undertaking. These improvements will provide increased public health protection against lead in household plumbing and Cryptosporidium, an organism that can potentially cause illness. These improvements will also result in more consistent water quality and prepare the water system for future regulations.

How to Access the Report

The Portland Water Bureau is mailing a postcard this week to inform every customer about the availability of this report online. Customers can request a paper copy, either online or by phone.

Do you know someone who could benefit from translated versions of this report? The report is available in Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Spanish. It is also available in screen reader-optimized large print in English.

The report can be found online or by calling the Water Quality Line at 503-823-9444.

'Is There Enough Water to Get Us Through Summer?' Answers to Your Summertime Water Questions

While Portland is fortunate to have an abundant supply of drinking water, once the hot days settle into the Willamette Valley, people begin to ask whether we have enough water to get us through the summer.

The answer is yes.

How We Plan for Summer Water Supply

Each year, our summer supply planning experts develop a Seasonal Water Supply Augmentation and Contingency Plan also known as the Seasonal Supply Plan. This plan evaluates the amount of water that is available from the Bull Run reservoirs and groundwater sources, projected weather forecasts, water releases that we make to improve fish habitat, and the amount of water the region typically uses. Between careful management and the region’s strong conservation efforts, we are prepared to meet Portlanders’ summer water supply needs.

Graph outlining usable storage in the Bull Run Reservoirs
Water supply by month for 2015 and 2018, which are two recent years with hot, dry summers, the historical average daily storage, and 2019 to date.

Did you know that the Bull Run reservoirs can fill up quickly after a long summer drawdown? 
A significant fall rain event can abruptly refill Bull Run Reservoirs in as little as two to three days. That’s about 150 million gallons each hour filling up the reservoirs.

How Your Water System Works

The Bull Run water system is designed to capture and store rainfall from the rainy season to provide enough water during the dry summer months.

Along with stream inflows into the watershed and the approximately 9.9 billion gallons stored in the two reservoirs, there is enough supply to meet water demand during most years just from the Bull Run Watershed.

During drier years, the Columbia South Shore Well Field groundwater source is one of the options we can draw upon to make up any supply deficits.

As we do every year, we are carefully watching our water supply throughout the summer.

Drawdown 101

Drawdown occurs when water demands for Portland’s drinking water, plus fish streamflow needs, are higher than what the streams carry into the reservoirs. This happens every year until the fall rains return and refill the reservoirs. This year, drawdown began on May 7.

Columbia South Shore Well Field

Two Sources, More Choices

Did you know that the Bull Run Watershed gets its water primarily from rain, not snow?

The watershed gets approximately 135 inches of rain each year, about three to four times more rain than we get here in town.

Portland’s secondary water supply is the Columbia South Shore Well Field. The well field has 25 wells in three aquifers that can produce up to 80 million gallons per day. Each year during drawdown, our Operations folks perform a groundwater maintenance operation to ensure that the well field is operational in the event it is needed for emergency supply.

With an average daily summer water demand of 120 million gallons, the bureau carefully plans to meet the needs of our customers.

Conserving Water Starts at Home

The Water Bureau’s best partner in ensuring that we have more than enough water for years to come is you!

The bureau has a Water Efficiency Program where you can learn more about using water wisely all year round with information about native plants in your garden and high-efficiency devices for your showers, faucet and toilets.

Water Planning Information

For updates and more information about how we plan for future water use, visit portlandoregon.gov/water/seasonalsupply.

How to Protect Yourself from Water Theft

You wake up one morning to find your outdoor faucet turned on full-blast, but you didn’t turn it on. How did this happen?

It may seem like an obscure crime, but every year our customer service team receives calls from customers who report people stealing water from unsuspecting households. Thieves simply help themselves to unlocked hose bibs, or prank-players turn on your outdoor spigot for whatever reason prank players play pranks. KGW reported last year that customers in Southeast Portland had their outdoor hose bibs—another name for an outdoor spigot—turned on without their knowledge.

Concerned about water theft? Take a moment to share this information with your neighbors, family, and friends.

Locked hose spigotHose Bib Locks Can Prevent Water Theft 

Hose bib locks are designed to secure a faucet from unauthorized tampering and water theft. Many locks fit three-quarter inch (¾”) garden hose thread faucets and are perfect for securing vacant homes, winterizing, or any time you want to have full control of water use from your hose bib. 

Hose bib locks are small, inexpensive, easy to install, and can be found at most local home improvement stores and online. 

And if you wake up one morning to find your spigot spewing water and you suspect foul play, call the police and make a report.

Questions?

Contact the Portland Water Bureau. We're here to help!

Planning and Partnerships Key to Water Bureau's Readiness for Fire Season

Liane Davis, Bull Run Watershed Protection Manager, speaks with reporter Pat Dooris about how we plan and are prepared for fire season with our partners.

One of the largest wildfires in the Columbia River Gorge, the Eagle Creek Fire, entered the outer geographical boundary of the Bull Run closure area in September 2017 before slowing and eventually being contained following a fortunate shift in weather.  Months of planning and detailed coordination between the bureau and partner agencies responsible for Bull Run fire protection helped to ensure the fire never reached the water supply drainage area or Portland’s drinking water reservoirs.

Critical to this work was communication and relationships, as fire crews were in constant contact with Water Bureau personnel to keep Portland’s drinking water supply safe. Bureau staff provided information to the U.S. Forest Service about the bureau’s protection priorities and watershed conditions, which helped fire managers develop a blueprint for deploying firefighters and other firefighting resources.

Throughout the year, the bureau works closely with the U.S. Forest Service—the primary agency in charge of Bull Run wildfire management—as well as the Oregon Department of Forestry and local fire departments, allowing cooperative development of a comprehensive Bull Run fire management plan.

The plan outlines bureau and agency roles, responsibilities, and strategies for fire prevention, detection, and suppression.

But with wildfire, there’s always more work to do.

Liane Davis attended Eagle Creek Fire Camp to work closely with wildfire partners during the fire.

“Every year and every summer has a new challenge, but the Water Bureau is continually working behind the scenes to protect the Bull Run water supply and ensure that customers continue to receive some of the world’s best water,” said Liane Davis, the Bull Run Watershed Protection Manager for the bureau.

Another fire season begins in just a few months and work is already underway. The bureau also actively works to help prevent large fires in the watershed by prioritizing prevention and early detection measures. Watershed security officers conduct extra patrols throughout fire season, diligently look for anyone who’s illegally trespassing or abandoned campfires left near the Bull Run. The security patrols are very active through the summer months, particularly along the perimeter of the Bull Run Watershed.

“The combination of restricted public access and active monitoring goes a long way in protecting the watershed from human-caused fires,” said Davis.

The bureau also works with the Forest Service to staff the Hickman Butte Fire Lookout, located within the Bull Run Watershed. Having a person watching for fire every day is vital to detecting smoke early; early detection is vital to helping initial suppression efforts be successful

“Wildfire does not know jurisdictions or boundaries on a map,” said Davis. “We’re all in this together, and it’s the work that happens behind the scenes during the year that help us be prepared should an event happen. As we continue to plan for the future, and understand how climate change increases wildfire risk, we’re thankful for close working relationships and the value these partnerships deliver for Portlanders and Oregonians.”

Through year-round preparation, the Portland Water Bureau is ready to respond should an event like the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire happen again.