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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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Why is all that water pouring into the street?

We get this question a lot when customers see our flushing crews working out in the field.

Pete Terry is a Water Operator Mechanic in our Maintenance and Construction group, and Brian Berends is an Operating Engineer II in our Operations group. Pete and Brian are in charge of flushing all the hydrants across Portland’s water system.

This week, Pete and Brian will be flushing water systems at various locations in Northeast Portland, Southwest Portland, and in Sellwood-Moreland.

So why is this water being flushed in the first place?

Water flushingFlushing is Part of Routine Maintenance

Flushing is sometimes used to improve the water quality in a specific area. This can be either in response to customer calls or as preventative maintenance.

In this specific project, an engineering project is being conducted that may cause customers living in the neighborhoods below to see discolored water. So flushing is being done as a preventative action to prevent you from seeing water discoloration.

The following neighborhoods have a low risk of seeing any affects from our work, but we want to let you know about this work in case you notice a difference in water color or pressure.

  • North Portland: Arbor Lodge, Humboldt, Kenton, Overlook, Piedmont
  • Southeast Portland: Sellwood-Moreland
  • Southwest Portland: Crestwood, West Portland Park

What Nearby Residents Can Expect

The discoloration does not pose a health risk.

If you experience some discoloration in your water from nearby flushing, run the water at one tap for two to three minutes to see if it clears. If it does not clear, wait an hour and try again. When the water runs clear, flush any taps where discolored water was present. Learn more about what you should do if you experience “dirty” water.

Find Water Bureau projects in your areaFind Flushing Projects Near You

Curious to see if there is flushing going on near you?

Visit our new WaterWorks tool, an online mapping application that shows you when, and where, Water Bureau projects are happening in the Portland metro area.

Find WaterWorks at


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