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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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A BIG Success Story

BIG program logoThe Portland Water Bureau’s Business, Industry, and Government (BIG) Water Efficiency Program offers information, resources, and assistance to industrial, commercial, and institutional customers of the Water Bureau.

BIG staff work alongside customers to create a water-use history report, identify potential savings, and provide an on-site evaluation of water using devices based on specific needs. Here’s one success story from the BIG Program. 

IRC Aluminum & Stainless
Located in North Portland, IRC Aluminum & Stainless is a non‐ferrous metal distributor that provides water‐jet cutting services to the northwest. Water‐jet cutting is a unique technology that can cut a variety of materials with no mechanical stress or heat effect. High pressure pumps used to create the water jets rely on large quantities of continuous “single pass” cooling water that discharges to the sewer after one use.

Cooling is typically accomplished using chillers and/or cooling towers but IRC was in need of a customized system to meet the requirements of their unique operation.

IRC's water jet at work.In September 2012, the Water Bureau's Water Conservation Program Coordinator met with IRC personnel to help improve the company’s water efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.

Working together, they developed an innovative design that combined the reuse of pump cooling water together with “free cooling” to the atmosphere using outdoor storage tanks.

The system now reuses cooling water in various cutting operation areas, providing more savings than a chiller system alone. The resulting design reduced cooling water demand by approximately 1.6 million gallons per year or 41 percent of the total use.

IRC’s high capital cost to install the system was reduced by an incentive offered by the Water Bureau.

To read more BIG Water Efficiency Program success stories, visit our Commercial Water Efficiency website.


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Spam Prevention In the Pacific Northwest, what state is Portland in?