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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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Protecting Our Bull Run Watershed

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Semi-annual inspections of public trails  
Lead Watershed Ranger Dan and Watershed Ranger Ken (pictured) completed an inspection of the 6.5 mile southern section of the PCT and Huckleberry Trail, from Lolo Pass to Lost Lake.

To support the Bull Run Treatment Variance, the Portland Water Bureau’s watershed rangers conduct semi-annual inspections of public trails that pass near the Bull Run Watershed. 

During these inspections, watershed rangers hike anywhere from three to 11 miles, inspecting portions of both the Oneonta Creek Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  Rangers look for signs of trespass, unauthorized side-trail construction, human and domesticated animal waste, and other suspicious activity.  Rangers also assess, post, and maintain Bull Run “No Trespassing” signage along these trails. 

In an effort to both better educate members of the public and gauge the level of public trail use, rangers also conduct brief on-trail question and answer sessions with any hikers encountered.

Inspections of the Oneonta Creek Trail and the northern section of the PCT (Indian Mountain to Lost Lake) are scheduled for later in August 2016.

Five Things to Know About the Treatment Variance 

  1. On March 14, 2012 the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued the Portland Water Bureau a variance from the federal drinking water rules requiring the treatment of Bull Run drinking water for Cryptosporidium. As a result of the variance the Portland Water Bureau does not treat for Cryptosporidium.
  2. The treatment variance was issued in accordance with federal and state law and is valid for 10 years.
  3. OHA issued the treatment variance based on the Water Bureau’s comprehensive LT2 Treatment Variance Request.
  4. The variance requires the Water Bureau to maintain or strengthen all existing legal and operational protections for the Bull Run, monitor the watershed on a routine basis to eliminate unauthorized entry, maintain strict controls for sanitary facilities within the watershed, and develop and implement an approved plan for conducting field inspections and environmental monitoring in the Bull Run Watershed.
  5. The variance requires the Water Bureau to conduct Observation Monitoring for Cryptosporidium at the Bull Run intake at least two days each week and each day when the turbidity is greater than 2.0 NTU.

In an Emergency, Everyone Has a Role to Play

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

September is National Preparedness Month. At the Portland Water Bureau, we prepare as part of our daily work - hardening the backbone of our water system and building storage that will last for generations. In an emergency, everyone has a role to play. What’s your role?

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for an emergency is to have an emergency kit that includes water. People can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. In the Pacific Northwest, your kit should be able to sustain your entire household (pets too!) for 14 days. Experts predict that our region is overdue for a major earthquake that will severely damage water systems and other infrastructure. When this occurs, it will take time for emergency supplies to reach the greater Portland-metro area. You will need to rely on your own resources until help arrives.

Throughout September, we’ll be sharing your neighbors’ stories of storing water and other supplies for an emergency like a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

Join them by making a short video about your water storage and posting it at Those who submit videos are entered to win a LifeStraw personal water filter.

Safely storing water for an emergency is an important step in getting your emergency kit together. Need help getting started?

• See HOW to store your emergency H2O.

• See WHERE to store your emergency H2O.

• See WHAT types of containers to use for your emergency H2O.

• Using your own containers to store water for an emergency? Here’s how:

Portland Water Bureau Offices Closed September 5 in Observance of Labor Day

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

In observance of Labor Day, Portland Water Bureau offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.

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. 6, 2016 at 8 a.m.

During the holiday, Water Bureau customers are invited to pay their bill in the following ways:

  • Online
  • Drop off: Leave a payment in the Water Bureau's night box located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue to the left of the building's front doors

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

Water Bureau Operating Engineers Give Mobile Water System Special ‘Treatment’

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau is committed to ensuring we can provide clean drinking water during emergency outages.

One of the ways the Water Bureau aims to increase our ability to effectively deal with emergencies is through dedicated and routine training.

System can produce 30,000 gallons per day of drinking water from any fresh water source    

Recently, operating engineers performed an inaugural exercise with the new Mobile Water Treatment System. The mobile water treatment system, housed inside of a trailer, can provide guaranteed water quality and quantity during emergency outages.

The trailer is a self-contained portable treatment system equipped with a generator, pumps, hoses and other equipment.

The system, built in January 2016 with Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant funds, is part of the Regional Water Providers Consortium’s regional effort to prepare for emergencies.

It is crucial for our operating engineers who will be responsible for activating these systems to have consistent and hands-on training. It is crucial for our operating engineers who will be responsible for activating these systems to have consistent and hands-on training.

Water Bureau operating engineers also maintain two mobile water distribution trailers in addition to this new water treatment system.

Bull Run Bobcat is a Grand Prize Winner

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Portland Water Bureau staff keep a close eye on the Bull Run Watershed, a source of water for close to one million people daily.

The entire watershed has been managed under increasing levels of protection since it was established as a Forest Reserve in 1892. While the watershed is closed to the public it is home to more than 250 species of fish and wildlife.

2016 Trail Camera Photo Contest Grand Prize WinnerThis winter, staff conducted wildlife camera monitoring in the Bull Run and collected a great series of three photos of a bobcat walking up and across a log. 

The best of these just won the Grand Prize in a photo contest conducted by, a web site devoted to wildlife trail cameras. 

We’re proud to be featured and excited for the prize: an awesome wildlife trail camera we can use to continue our monitoring in the watershed.

Who knows who’ll cross our cameras next?