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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

Customer Service: 503-823-7770

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

More Contact Info


Water Safety in Buildings: It's everyone's responsibility

When food sits in the pantry too long – it can go stale and lose its flavor. The same is true with the water in your pipes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, water quality in large buildings that have little to no water use are especially at risk of Legionella bacteria growth in building plumbing. Legionella bacteria can cause a potentially life threatening pneumonia called Legionnaires’ Disease. Find the steps you need to take to protect health and maintain the water quality in buildings at the CDC’s Guidance for Building Water Systems page or the Water Bureau’s Water Quality in Large Buildings page. Email our water quality staff if you have questions.  

Maintaining proper water quality is essential all the time, not just during emergencies.

Are you doing your part to maintain safe drinking water in your building? Take time to make sure your backflow preventors, swimming pools and hot tubs, and your building’s water management plan, and up to date.   

Backflow prevention for single family homes 

Does your home have a second water service specifically for your lawn and garden irrigation system? These irrigation systems have a backflow assembly to keep you, your family, and Portland’s drinking water safe. Backflow assemblies allow water to enter your irrigation system while at the same time preventing water that is in your irrigation system from flowing back into the drinking water supply. Once a year, homeowners are required to have the backflow assemblies connected to their system tested. Also, as the weather warms up, remember to keep your hose out of your pool or hot tub as you are filling them. Learn more at our Cross-connection & Backflow page.

Questions about your backflow assembly or backflow assembly testing? Contact Portland Water Bureau Backflow Records at 503-823-3256.  

Maintaining water quality in your home 

Just like household chores, maintaining water quality is a shared responsibility. The Portland Water Bureau preforms the majority of the work to ensure you receive safe and reliable drinking water, but customers have responsibilities to maintain water quality and pressure in their home. Find common maintenance and troubleshooting tips in our Customer Guide to Water Quality and Pressure.  

This guide covers:  

• The basics of water quality and pressure  

• Troubleshooting common water quality and pressure concerns  

• Plumbing and water heater maintenance tips  

• Lead in home plumbing and how to reduce your exposure  

• Water filters, backflow prevention, emergency water storage, and water efficiency tips 

Questions about water quality or pressure?

Water Quality Line: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday–Friday. (Interpretation available.)

WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov

503-823-7525

May. 1, 2020: Cryptosporidium Monitoring Update

Since 2017, the Portland Water Bureau has detected low levels of Cryptosporidium from routine monitoring.

The Portland Water Bureau received results from ongoing monitoring from the Bull Run Watershed intake for Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism. Two Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in the 50-liters collected on Tuesday April 28. Prior to this detection, Cryptosporidium was last detected from the Bull Run Watershed intake on March 31, 2020, when one oocyst was detected from the 50-liters sampled.

The Bull Run Watershed is Portland’s primary source of drinking water. The Portland Water Bureau does not currently treat for Cryptosporidium, but is required to do so under drinking water regulations. Portland is working to install filtration by September 2027 under a compliance schedule with Oregon Health Authority. In the meantime, Portland Water Bureau is implementing interim measures such as watershed protection and additional monitoring to protect public health. Consultation with public health officials has concluded that at this time, customers do not need to take any additional precautions. 

About Cryptosporidium

Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, a serious illness. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach pain. People with healthy immune systems recover without medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with severely weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious disease. Symptoms may be more severe and could lead to serious or life-threatening illness. Examples of people with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS; those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system; and cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that a small percentage of the population could experience gastro-intestinal illness from Cryptosporidium and advises that customers who are immunocompromised and receive their drinking water from the Bull Run Watershed consult with their healthcare professional about the safety of drinking the tap water. The Portland Water Bureau and Burlington, City of Gresham, City of Sandy, City of Tualatin, Green Valley, GNR, Hideaway Hills, Lake Grove, Lorna Domestic Water, Lusted, Palatine Hill, Pleasant Home, Raleigh, Rockwood, Skyview Acres, Tualatin Valley, Two Rivers, Valley View and West Slope Water Districts receive all or part of their drinking water supply from the Bull Run. To learn if your drinking water comes from Bull Run, please contact your local drinking water provider.

More Information

The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at portlandoregon.gov/water/cryptoresults. The bureau will notify the media and public immediately should further test results indicate a risk to public health and precautions are necessary.

Customers with questions regarding water quality can call the Water Line at 503-823-7525.

Bull Run Working Group Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The public is invited to attend the upcoming Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Hood National Forest Bull Run working group meeting:

Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Location: Virtual. To request a link to the meeting, contact Kate Leatherbarrow at kate.leatherbarrow@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-5351 by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2020.
Agenda: Access the agenda here

Accommodation, Interpretation, and Translation

To help ensure equal access to City programs, services and activities, the City of Portland will provide translation, reasonably modify policies/procedures and provide auxiliary aids/services/alternative formats to persons with disabilities. 

Given the unique circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 situation, the bureau thanks you for your patience and flexibility as we balance our commitment to public meeting requirements with the logistics and tools available. Should you have a request for special accommodation for the Bull Run Working Group meeting, please contact Kate Leatherbarrow at kate.leatherbarrow@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-5351 at least one week prior to the meeting (by Tuesday, May 12, 2020) in order to coordinate your request. 

About the Working Group Meetings

Under the terms of a 20-year agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Hood National Forest, staff engaged in the management of the Bull Run Watershed, Portland’s primary drinking water source, will meet semi-annually each year. The purpose of these meetings is to review work plans, budgets, and staff assignments; and communicate accomplishments and issues addressed during the course of management activities. An annual report is presented at the spring meetings.

More Information

For more information about the 20-year stewardship agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt. Hood National Forest, please visit the Bull Run Watershed Protection and Stewardship page or the Forest Service's Mt. Hood National Forest page

Brief Customer Service payment outage scheduled

Customer Alert: There will be two scheduled maintenance windows where customers will be unable to access our view/pay bill website and our automated phone payment. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

  • Sunday April 19th between 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
  • Tuesday April 21st between 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Loan that benefits ratepayers submitted, City Council considering finance plan for filtration facility

photo of bull run

On April 1, 2020, the Portland Water Bureau submitted our application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a low-cost Water Infrastructure and Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to build the Bull Run Treatment Projects. Wednesday April 8, City Council will consider an ordinance authorizing water revenue bonds to finance the projects. Council members are expected to vote for the ordinance at a second reading the following week. 

“Council approval of the finance plan for the Bull Run Treatment Projects will lock in significant benefits for our ratepayers,” said Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Based on rate projections, the WIFIA loan will provide an estimated $350 million of debt service savings to ratepayers over the term of the loan.”

A WIFIA loan will help us finance improvements to Portland’s water system needed to comply with federal and state drinking water regulations, including building improved corrosion control treatment, a new filtration facility, and related pipelines.

Borrowers have up to 35 years after substantial completion of a project to repay a loan, saving ratepayers money by allowing for smaller payment amounts over the life of the loan. Along with providing consistent, high-quality water, we estimate the Bull Run Treatment Projects will create 7,500 direct construction jobs. As part of our commitment to a sustained, vibrant Oregon economy, the construction contracts will include Community Benefits Agreements that incorporate workforce equity goals and expanded training and work opportunities for minorities and women.

What is WIFIA?

Logo for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA)WIFIA is a federal program that provides long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects like the Bull Run Treatment Projects that support public health and the economy.

“WIFIA financing is a huge opportunity for us to reduce costs for ratepayers while we make these important investments in the future of our water system.” Mike Stuhr.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley introduced the legislation for the WIFIA program, which was passed by Congress in 2014, to create jobs and accelerate investment in upgrades and repairs to our nation’s critical water infrastructure.

How does WIFIA work?

WIFIA offers flexible repayment schedule to allow for water rate increases to be phased in over a longer period of time. The interest rate will be fixed at the U.S. Treasury bond rate for a similar maturity on the date our loan closes, and we’ll be able to keep that low rate locked in.  

We applied for the total allowable loan amount which was calculated using cost estimates submitted to City Council in 2019 ($820 million for the filtration facility and pipelines, and $20 million for improved corrosion control). Other eligible costs include project contingency, inflation, indirect costs, bond reserves and interest costs, and a contingency amount.

How will WIFIA benefit Portland?

With a WIFIA loan, we can take advantage of a long repayment period and wait to start making payments until after the improved corrosion control facility is online in 2022 and the filtration facility is substantially completed in 2027, which means nearly all the project costs will be paid after customers are getting the benefits of the new facilities.

Within two years, improved corrosion control treatment will further reduce the potential for home plumbing to contribute to lead in our water. By September 2027, the new filtration facility will remove the microorganism Cryptosporidium and other potential contaminants from Bull Run water providing added protection for our customers.

A low-cost WIFIA loan with a long-term repayment option will significantly reduce the cost to ratepayers and secure our vision of keeping our water safe and abundant for generations to come.

“The City is grateful to Senator Merkley for his leadership in creating the WIFIA program, and to Senator Ron Wyden, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici for their support of the City’s efforts to secure the WIFIA loan for the Bull Run Treatment Projects,” added Commissioner Fritz.

Comments or questions about the Bull Run Treatment Projects can be submitted online at portlandoregon.gov/bullrunprojects or by email at bullrunprojects@portlandoregon.gov

Sign up to be notified by email about project updates including meetings and events at: www.portlandoregon.gov/water/BRTPnews