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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

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Drinking Water Quality Report headed your way

A preview of the Portland Water Bureau’s 2020 Drinking Water Quality Report will land in your mailbox this week. Portlanders already know a lot about our drinking water. We make it easy for you to learn more – what’s in your water, what’s not, and how people at the Portland Water Bureau work everyday to keep your water safe and protected.

If you only learn one thing from this report, it’s that Portland Water Bureau continues to deliver clean and safe drinking water that meets or surpasses drinking water standards to nearly a million customers. But did you also know that the Portland Water Bureau performs approximately 12,000 tests per year to track more than 200 contaminants?

“This pandemic underscores the critical role that access to safe drinking water plays in public health. Dedicated people are working hard to monitor, treat and protect the water our community relies on. We do the work so you never have to worry about a future without this precious resource,” said Water Bureau Director Michael Stuhr.

This year’s report includes:

  • Information about how we monitor, treat, and deliver your drinking water.
  • Drinking water quality results from 2019 and provides information about your drinking water system.
  • Updates on drinking water treatment projects. These improvements will provide increased public health protection against lead in household plumbing and Cryptosporidium, an organism that can potentially cause illness.
  • Learn about how the Water Bureau is keeping up with new technology and regulations.

The Portland Water Bureau is sending a mailer this week to inform every customer about the availability of this report online. Customers can request a paper copy online or by phone at 503-823-9444. The report is also available in Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, and screen reader-accessible large print.

Why filtration is still the right choice for our community

Commissioner's view: New facility is a federal mandate, and will create jobs and safer water.

This appeared in the Portland Tribune on May 29.

In almost two years as the commissioner in charge of the Portland Water Bureau, I have been proud to follow Commissioner Nick Fish's legacy of leading restored public trust in the public servants providing the Portland area's delicious, safe drinking water. We have demonstrated leadership in public health, resilience, affordability and equity. These values are exemplified in the Bull Run Filtration Project.

Public health is the primary driver in this project. Portland is required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upgrade the Bull Run system to remove Cryptosporidium and other microorganisms from our drinking water. We don't have a choice. Cryptosporidium is a disease-causing microorganism that can cause serious illness for people with compromised immune systems and other medical conditions. Filtration will protect the most medically vulnerable water users. The City committed to EPA to install it.

Filtration goes far beyond just public health. The technology at the plant will remove sediment, organic material, and other potential contaminants. Filtration will provide consistent high-quality drinking water, making the water system more reliable in an earthquake, forest fire, algae bloom or other unforeseen scenarios. A safe and abundant drinking water supply fuels our economy and our community.

While less expensive options like ultraviolet (UV) treatment exist, they only treat Cryptosporidium. Nothing more. There are no other water quality benefits to UV. 

Public health is the primary driver in this project. Portland is required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upgrade the Bull Run system to remove Cryptosporidium and other microorganisms from our drinking water. We don't have a choice. Cryptosporidium is a disease-causing microorganism that can cause serious illness for people with compromised immune systems and other medical conditions. Filtration will protect the most medically vulnerable water users. The City committed to EPA to install it.

Filtration goes far beyond just public health. The technology at the plant will remove sediment, organic material, and other potential contaminants. Filtration will provide consistent high-quality drinking water, making the water system more reliable in an earthquake, forest fire, algae bloom or other unforeseen scenarios. A safe and abundant drinking water supply fuels our economy and our community.

While less expensive options like ultraviolet (UV) treatment exist, they only treat Cryptosporidium. Nothing more. There are no other water quality benefits to UV. 

Public health is the primary driver in this project. Portland is required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upgrade the Bull Run system to remove Cryptosporidium and other microorganisms from our drinking water. We don't have a choice. Cryptosporidium is a disease-causing microorganism that can cause serious illness for people with compromised immune systems and other medical conditions. Filtration will protect the most medically vulnerable water users. The City committed to EPA to install it.

Filtration goes far beyond just public health. The technology at the plant will remove sediment, organic material, and other potential contaminants. Filtration will provide consistent high-quality drinking water, making the water system more reliable in an earthquake, forest fire, algae bloom or other unforeseen scenarios. A safe and abundant drinking water supply fuels our economy and our community.

While less expensive options like ultraviolet (UV) treatment exist, they only treat Cryptosporidium. Nothing more. There are no other water quality benefits to UV. 

In 2017 under the leadership of Commissioner Fish — who worked so hard to restore public trust in the Water Bureau and to defend it against attacks from private interests — public health experts, utility oversight groups and community members weighed in. The City reached an agreement with the Oregon Health Authority on the filtration mechanism and timeline to meet federal EPA requirements. The filtration project must be completed by 2027. Many decisions have not yet been made and the bureau continues to work with neighbors on designing a facility that reduces disruptions and fits into the character of this rural community. Like Commissioner Fish, I have always believed government should keep its promises and do what it says it will do. We are committed to working with nearby neighbors to address their concerns, while fulfilling our obligation to nearly one million people who rely on safe, abundant Bull Run water.

Affordability is key in this project. This fall, we hope to close on a long-term, low-cost loan from the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program for this project. WIFIA was founded with leadership by Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley to significantly reduce costs while creating jobs and investing in needed drinking water infrastructure. This project will be especially important to help put Oregonians back to work after the COVID-19 crisis abates. Backing out now would be hugely damaging to Portland's ratepayers and to the City's ability to secure federal assistance on other programs. I share the concern for ratepayers — I am one. The WIFIA loan will pay for multiple system improvements, at lower cost to ratepayers than if we had to shoulder the debt without federal assistance.

Capital spending on crucial water infrastructure projects creates and sustains jobs. The Bull Run Treatment Project is estimated to create approximately 7,500 direct construction jobs over the years of the project, as well as a dozen permanent full-time jobs after construction. The project also includes Community Benefits Agreements to support openings for Disadvantaged, Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, and Emerging Small Businesses firms. People previously unable to benefit from the Carpenter Lane site will have opportunities in the construction project.

I'm also the co-founder and Commissioner in Charge of the Office of Equity and Human Rights. We all deserve access to clean safe, reliable drinking water. From Flint, Michigan, to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when water infrastructure fails, the impacts are concentrated on the most vulnerable. The filtration facility will provide safe and abundant water for generations to come.

We live in uncertain times. The Portland Water Bureau remains committed to public health, reliability, resilience, and equity. This is why we need a reliable filtration facility now, more than ever.

Amanda Fritz was first elected to the City Council in 2008. She will retire after three terms at the end of the year.

 

Portland City Council Approves 2020-21 Water Rates

Portland City Council approved a modest water rates increase for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 (July 2020 to June 2021) in a 3-0 vote. The city adjusts water rates annually on July 1. With this adjustment, the monthly water-only bill for a typical single-family household will be $44.89.

Important note: The bill that Portland utility customers receive includes water, sewer and stormwater services. Sewer and stormwater services are handled by the Bureau of Environmental Services. We’ll stick to water costs below, since that’s our area of expertise. Click here to view a handy overview of what your bill pays for.

In the Mayor’s budget, the water-only proposed rate increase is $2.75 (6.5 percent) monthly for a typical single-family household.

The reasons for the increase follow:

  • Compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. We keep in good standing with state and federal regulations to ensure that your water is always clean and safe.
  • The ongoing cost of maintaining an aging system. More than 2,000 miles of pipe deliver water throughout the Portland area. Many of those pipes are more than 80 years old. We need to invest in our aging system.
  • The rising costs of health care, debt service, and personnel increases for represented employees.
  • Ongoing investments in projects that make our system more resilient. Portland is at risk of a major earthquake. When the “Big One” hits, we need to be prepared. That’s why the budget includes critical projects that harden our conduits, fortify our facilities, and reinforce our new reservoirs.

“In these times, we’re proud to be there for people who need it most while continuing to provide safe drinking water to all,” said Kathy Koch, Portland Water Bureau Customer Service Director. “We are balancing the need to keep water affordable while investing in an aging system that is safe and resilient for future generations.”

The Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services (the utility bureaus) offer a menu of financial assistance options for reducing or waiving portions of their bills. These include:

The City of Portland utility bureaus continue to offer all customers no-interest flexible payment schedules. The City is not currently charging late fees, is not pursing collections on all past due accounts, and will not shut off anyone’s water for non-payment during this crisis. Click the links below to learn about the different financial assistance services we offer to qualified customers. (Information on Customer Services hours of operation, paying your bill and more can be found at portlandoregon.gov/water/customerservice.

Services for residential customers:

Services for all customers:

  • Monthly statements offer the option of paying each month to avoid a quarterly bill that includes three months of sewer/stormwater/water charges.
  • Clean River Rewards provide savings if you manage stormwater on your property.
  • Water Efficiency offers free water-saving devices and rebates for toilet and irrigation upgrades.

To learn more about how we can help, or to view the detailed information about these programs, click here or contact our Customer Service staff at 503-823-7770 or PWBCustomerService@portlandoregon.gov.

Call center closed in observance of Memorial Day

Our call center will be closed Monday May 25, 2020 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. The call center will reopen at 9:00 AM on Tuesday May 26, 2020. For your convenience you may pay your bill online or pay by phone dialing 503-823-7770 and press 1.

May 27, 2020: Administrative Review Committee

The Administrative Review Committee 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.

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.

Meeting Information

Meeting to be held virtually on Microsoft Teams

Wed. May 27, 2020, 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. 

For more information

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

Questions? Want a link to the Teams meeting to attend virtually or notes from prior meetings? Contact Alex Reagan at (503) 865-2755 or via email Alex.Reagan@portlandoregon.gov.

Administrative Review Committee Summaries

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.