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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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TRAFFIC ADVISORY 05/5/17: Water Main Project On NW Cornell Road to Impact Traffic

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PORTLAND, OR — A water main installation project on Northwest Cornell Road between Northwest Skyline Boulevard and the Audubon Society will begin May 22, 2017, and end in early September. Construction work hours are limited to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays to accommodate commuter traffic.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, portions of the westbound lane of Northwest Cornell Road will be closed and flaggers will direct traffic through the work zone. Work zones will be limited to 1000 feet at a time.

The traveling public is reminded to stay alert and use caution while driving through the construction zone. To avoid traffic delays, motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes around the work site.

Headed to Sunday Parkways? We’ll Be There!

Water Bureau booth at Sunday ParkwaysIt’s almost time to grab your bike and explore Portland’s parks and neighborhoods at Sunday Parkways. Join the fun on May 21 in Southeast Portland and stop by the Water Bureau booth.  We’ll have free water efficiency devices available and friendly staff there answer questions and share water saving tips.

Keep an eye out for our Water Education Station (WES) – this is a great place to fill up your water bottle along the route.

Portland Water Bureau bannerFree Water Conservation Kits

If we miss you at the event, don’t forget, customers can always pick up a FREE water conservation kit at the Water Bureau’s first floor customer service center at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland.

Learn more about free water efficiency devices available to you.  

Analyzing Water Samples Collected from Forest to Faucet

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Lab scientistSince the early 1960s, we’ve been fortunate to have a water quality testing laboratory, first in the Bull Run Watershed near the treatment facility, then for the last 23 years at the Interstate facility.

Currently, the lab has 13 full time employees: a laboratory manager, a laboratory supervisor, two laboratory coordinators, five laboratory analytical specialists, and four laboratory analysts. These lab experts are in charge of testing Portland’s drinking water supply to ensure it is adhering to state and federal standards for water quality.


The laboratory is accredited to run drinking water analysis by the Oregon Health Authority. To maintain accreditation, the following is required by the lab:

  • Pass two blind performance tests each year for each of 21 chemistry and 6 microbiology analytical methods with 122 analytes
  • Maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS)
  • Have a Quality Manual
  • Conduct an in-house assessment by accreditors every two years
  • Document everything!

By the Numbers

  • Lab microscopeThe lab performs approximately 30 analytical methods for drinking water and environmental water samples.
  • The lab performs about 95 percent of the drinking water analyses that are required for compliance with state and federal drinking water regulations for the bureau.
  • In a typical year, the lab processes approximately 11,000 samples for compliance and process control, producing approximately 58,000 sample results plus another 20,000 QC results. Samples are collected from the Bull Run Reservoirs and Lake, Headworks, Lusted Hill conduits, the groundwater system, the distribution system, water mains construction and repair projects, water system customers, and research projects. The research projects include studies of nitrification and corrosion potential in the distribution system.
  • In 2016, the lab processed about 20,400 samples. The extra samples were mainly to test for lead in the water at schools, day care centers, city facilities, and individual customer homes and businesses.

Women in Trades: Meet Su Farley, Water Operations Mechanic

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The Portland Water Bureau’s Women in Trades Planning Committee received an award from Oregon Trades Women for the main break simulation workshop at the 2016 Women in Trades Career Fair.

The Women in Trades Career Fair is an annual event produced by Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. This interactive fair encourages middle and high school girls and women to explore the possibility of a future career in the trades.

This year’s Women in Trades Career Fair will be held on May 19 and 20.

For more than 13 years, women from the Portland Water Bureau have been a key part of this unique event with the goal of promoting and supporting the advancement and employment of women in the trades.

Thank you to the professional and talented women in the Water Bureau who have dedicated their career to the trades.

Get to Know Su Farley, Water Bureau Tradeswoman

What is your role at the Water Bureau?

I’m a Water Operations Mechanic. I respond to emergencies from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Some of the emergencies I help with are main breaks, property side leaks, city-side leaks, emergency locates, shut offs for repairs and many more.

Describe your typical day for us. What does that look like?

First, I transfer calls to my phone. Then I get my work request paperwork from the radio room and triage what needs to be done first in order of priority. Then I head out to my first call and continue until I get additional emergency calls from the Water Control Center. I have to think on my feet a lot. For instance, I prioritize new calls with previous calls and divert to any main break or other water emergency that comes up.

What happens if you get a call for a water emergency while you’re in the field?

If there’s a main break or service leak that is causing damage, I call the on-call supervisor to bring in a crew. After I make that call, I locate the gates and throttle it down until it is under control. In addition, I mark for locates and, if time allows, I locate the main and services and try to pinpoint where the leak is.

What happens when you get back in the office at the end of the day?

At the end of the day, I record my findings in the night log. If there’s work that needs to be done, I email the supervisor and the scheduling folks to generate a work order to get the work done and attach pictures.

What does it mean to be a woman in a field where women have been historically underrepresented?

One more step for womankind!

Either at the Water Bureau or beyond, which women have served as your professional role models or mentors?

My mom.

How do you see fellow tradeswomen supporting each other?

I see great leaps and bounds with women supporting and encouraging one another in the trades!

What else do you want to share about yourself and your work?

Honestly, it’s a tough row to hoe, but now impossible and very rewarding.

Share with us something about your life outside of work.

I own my own business and raised four children by myself. My family is my hobby. I am blessed.

Learn More About Women in Trades Career Fair

To learn more about the Women in Trades Career Fair, visit the Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. website at

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.

Learn More About the Water Bureau


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