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Most City offices closed Wednesday, June 19, to observe Juneteenth

The City of Portland recognizes Juneteenth as a formal day of remembrance to honor Black American history and the end of slavery in the United States. Learn about Juneteenth.

About Combined Sewer Overflows

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Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to the Willamette River and Columbia Slough are rare. But when they do occur, Portlanders are advised to stay out of the water for 48 hours following a CSO due to higher levels of bacteria and other contaminants. Find out if a CSO is happening now.

Active CSO Advisories: None at this time. Past advisories are listed at the bottom of this page.

CSO Advisory Notifications: If a rare CSO does occur, be one of the first to know by subscribing to our Combined Sewer Overflow Advisories email notification list.


What are CSOs?

Many of Portland’s older neighborhoods have a combined system. In a combined system, sewage and stormwater are carried in the same pipes to the treatment plant. Before the Big Pipe Project was completed in 2011, these neighborhood pipes used to fill up and overflow to the Willamette River or Columbia Slough when it rained. Now the Big Pipe Project has eliminated 94 percent of overflows to the Willamette and 99 percent to the slough.

Simplified map of Willamette River through Portland. The City's combined sewer outfalls marked with yellow dots. There 15 total outfalls: 3 near St. Johns, 4 just north of Fremont Bridge, 5 between Fremont and Ross Island bridges, 1 near south tip of Ross Island, and 2 near Sellwood.

Overflows: 

  • Are rare. They occur about four times a rainy season during or after heavy rains. 

  • Usually happen in the winter from October to May. 

  • Contain about 20 percent sewage and 80 percent stormwater. 

  • Carry E. Coli bacteria that can be harmful to people, which is why people are advised to avoid contact with the water for 48 hours after an overflow. 

CSO and Capacity, Management, Operation, and Maintenance

Each year, Environment Services submits a report to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality summarizing the performance of the City’s CSO and Capacity, Management, Operation, and Maintenance (CMOM) programs. Both programs focus on reducing the likelihood of sewer overflows or releases by maintaining and improving the overall reliability of the sanitary and combined sewer collection systems. Annual reports are required as part of the City’s NPDES permit. Reports summarize performance for the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) and include information on: 

  • Major storm events that caused CSOs  
  • Wet weather treatment performance at the plant 
  • Water quality sampling for the Willamette and Columbia Rivers 
  • Tracking and reporting of sewer releases 
  • Collection system storage capacity 
  • System risk reduction and reinvestment 

Annual Reports

Past CSOs

*Indicates that the CSO occurred from an outfall(s) that is not part of the Big Pipe System.

2024

  1. January 27, 2024

2023

  1. March 13, 2023
  2. May 8, 2023
  3. October 11, 2023 *
  4. December 6, 2023

2022

  1. January 3, 2022 *
  2. April 30, 2022
  3. June 13, 2022
  4. November 4, 2022 *
  5. December 26, 2022 *

2021

  1. January 13, 2021 *
  2. September 19, 2021
  3. September 27, 2021
  4. November 12, 2021 *
  5. December 19, 2021 *