GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
Portland has fire hydrants every 1,000 feet as the crow flies. That's the standard spacing of fire hydrants in residential areas. In higher-density areas, the standard is every 500 feet. Downtown there are two hydrants for each intersection. Those numbers add up -- to 14,200 hydrants! Hydrants are color-coded to give important information to Portland's firefighters.
Flow & Pressure
Property owners are responsible for the condition of all plumbing and pipes that water flows through after it leaves the water meter at the street. Some water flow problems are temporary. The Portland Water Bureau provides water to all services with a minimum pressure at the water meter of 20 pounds per square inch (psi). Most homes receive water at a pressure of 40-80 psi. We monitor pressure throughout Portland.
Pumps & Pump Stations
Most customers are served by gravity flow. Gravity flow reduces dependence on pumping and its expensive energy needs. It is a reliable method of piping water to facilities and customers. At higher elevations pumps deliver water to customers that cannot be served by gravity feed.
Emergency pump connections at pump stations can be used during a prolonged power outage. A mobile generator or portable pumping unit (gasoline or diesel engine powered) can be hooked up to these connections to supply the distribution reservoir.
Storage tanks are a necessity for a variety of reasons. Water storage tanks have two primary functions: Water tanks guarantee that a particular neighborhood in a service area will have adequate water pressures during all times of day, no matter what the season. Elevating water in tanks improves pressure throughout the system.Water tanks ensure that there is adequate water supply throughout the city to fight fires. Tanks come in all shapes, sizes and configurations.
Tanks may be:
Portland has sixty-four tanks. They are constructed either of concrete or steel. The concrete tanks hold from sixty thousand gallons to four million gallons of water. (The transmission tanks at Powell Butte are bigger.) The balance of the other tanks are steel with either riveted, or welded construction that hold from thirty thousand gallons to over five million gallons of water.
Water tank facts:
More than 2,200 miles of pipe deliver water throughout the Portland metropolitan area. That's a lot of pipe that water rate payers maintain. Some mains are 100-years-old -- that's "aging infrastructure" in the bureau's budget discussions.
It's many miles of pipe. If the Portland Water Bureau stretched pipes end to end, you'd have to drive to Chicago to catch Bull Run out of the faucet.
Pipeline materials consist primarily of cast iron, ductile iron, and copper service piping. New pipelines are constructed of cement-mortar-lined ductile iron. Thousands of valves on the mains allow control during repairs or maintenance.
Property owners are responsible for the condition of all plumbing and pipes that water flows through after it leaves the water meter at the street.