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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?

Unidirectional flushing

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

Pete and Andrew are Water Operator Mechanics in our Maintenance and Construction group.  They oversee flushing all the hydrants across Portland’s water system.

During the weeks of May 21st and 28th, Pete and Andrew will be flushing water systems at various locations in North, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest Portland.

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

Flushing 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 effects 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: Cathedral Park, St Johns, University Park, Portsmouth
  • Northeast Portland: Lloyd District, Sullivan’s Gulch, Kerns, Eliot, Irvington, Laurelhurst, North Tabor, Grant Park/Hollywood, Rose City Park, Parkrose, Cully
  • Southeast Portland: Buckman, Hosford-Abernathy, Brooklyn, Creston-Kenilworth
  • Southwest Portland: Crestwood, West Portland Park, Far Southwest, South Burlingame, Hillsdale

What Nearby Residents Can Expect

The discoloration does not pose a health risk.

WaterWorks - Find Water Bureau project information

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 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