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.

Clean Rivers Education – Resources about Wastewater

Photo shows large rectangular tanks of brown-gray water that is bubbling and foaming
What happens to the water after it goes down a toilet, sink, bathtub, or a storm drain? Learn what not to flush and how recovering the resources from that “used” water helps keep our community’s rivers healthy and creates renewable resources for energy and agriculture.

Local Resources


After the Flush: Recovering energy and nutrients from Portland's wastewater

After the Flush: Recovering energy and nutrients from Portland's wastewater – 5:40 minutes
A City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Clean Rivers Education production

Portlanders use about 46 gallons of water every day. Find out what happens to that water once it leaves your home, school, or office and makes it way to Portland's wastewater treatment plant. At the plant, we clean the water, generate renewable energy, and extract valuable nutrients that are returned to the soil.

Taggart Sewer Tunnel–Another Century of Service

Taggart Sewer Tunnel – Another Century of Service, A City of Portland Environmental Services production – 5:32 minutes

Learn about one of Portland's oldest sewers – the Taggart Outfall. Made of brick and dug by hand in the early 1900s, the Taggart Outfall sewer is 10 feet in diameter, reaches depths up to 100 feet, and runs from SE 82nd Avenue to the Willamette River in SE Portland. Learn how engineers used innovative technologies and overcame several challenges to repair this important sewer.

Sewer Cam

Environmental Services Sewer Cam – 23 seconds

To determine where repairs are needed, Environmental Services first uses a scope to video sewers to determine their condition and need for repair. Here, crews have discovered a fractured pipe.

Web Resources: Background Information and More

Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Process — What happens after the flush? Learn about the physical, chemical, and biological steps used to clean Portland's wastewater, generate renewable energy, and return valuable nutrients to the soil.

Big Pipe Tracker — Is it raining? Here you can track how the Big Pipe Project is preventing combined sewer overflows to the Willamette River.

Portland's Poop to Power Project — Learn how Portland is on its way to harnessing virtually all the methane produced at the treatment plant and turning this waste into a valuable resource. The resulting renewable natural gas (RNG) will be used to replace dirty diesel in commercial vehicles.

What Not to Flush — Learn why putting the wrong things down the drain can damage the sewer system, cause sewer backups in your home, and sewer releases to the environment.

Fats, Oil, and Grease — Learn how to keep your pipes fat free to protect from sewer backups.

More Resources


Wipes Clog Pipes Demonstration (1 min.)
Despite often being labeled “flushable,” disposable wipes that are flushed down toilets don’t break down in the sewer system. Watch a demonstration of toilet paper vs. disposable wipes over time. From Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Wipes Clog Pipes (1 min.)
Clever video reminding people not to flush wipes because they clog sewer pipes. From Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Only Flush the Three Ps: Pee, Poo, (toilet) Paper (30 sec)
Short, animated video reminding people to only flush the 3 Ps. From the City of Ottawa.