Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

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

More Contact Info

Frequently Asked Questions About Water Quality

By Lindsay Wochnick

Is my water treated by filtration?

No. Neither the groundwater nor Bull Run source water is filtered. The Bull Run source meets the filtration avoidance criteria of the Surface Water Treatment Rule. The State of Oregon approved Portland's compliance with these criteria in 1992. Portland continues to meet these criteria on an ongoing basis.

Does the Portland Water Bureau add fluoride to drinking water?

No. The Portland Water Bureau does not add fluoride to the water. Fluoride is a naturally occurring trace element in surface and groundwater. The U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider the fluoride levels in Portland’s water sources to be lower than optimal for the prevention of tooth decay. You may want to consult with your dentist about fluoride treatment to help prevent tooth decay, especially for young children.

Is Portland’s water soft or hard?

Portland’s water is very soft. The hardness of Bull Run water is typically 3-8 parts per million (ppm), or approximately ¼ to ½ a grain of hardness per gallon. For short periods of time Portland may supplement the Bull Run supply with groundwater. Portland’s groundwater hardness is approximately 80 ppm (about 5 grains per gallon), which is considered moderately hard.

What is the pH of Portland’s water?

The pH of Portland’s drinking water typically ranges between 7.4 and 8.1.

Are sodium levels in Portland’s drinking water affecting my health?

There is currently no drinking water standard for sodium. Sodium is an essential nutrient. Sodium in Portland's water typically ranges between 2 and 9 ppm, a level unlikely to contribute to adverse health effects.

Is there radon in Portland’s drinking water?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. Radon has never been detected in the Bull Run surface water supply. In past years, radon has been detected at varying levels in Portland’s groundwater wells. Based on the historical levels and limited amount of groundwater used, radon is unlikely to contribute to adverse health effects. For more information about radon, call the EPA’s Radon Hotline 800-SOS-RADON or

Who can I call about water quality or pressure concerns?

The Water Line, 503-823-7525, can answer your questions and concerns about water quality or pressure. The Water Line is available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. If you have an emergency after these hours, please contact the after-hours number at 503-823-4874.

How can I get my water tested?

Contact the LeadLine at or 503-988-4000 for information about free lead-in-water testing. For more extensive testing, private laboratories can test your tap water for a fee. Not all labs are accredited to test for all contaminants. For information about accredited labs, call the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program at 503-693-4122.

Water Quality


Please review our Code of Conduct rules before posting a comment to this site. Your comment will be visible to site administrators only.

Submit a Comment
Name (optional)
E-mail (optional)
 Remember Info Yes   No
Spam Prevention In the Pacific Northwest, what state is Portland in?