Holiday closure

Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, July 4, to observe Independence Day.

UTL-2.02 - Source Water Protection Policy Statement

Binding City Policies (BCP)
Policy category
Policy number
Binding City Policy

WHEREAS, the City of Portland has obtained its drinking water supply from the Bull Run watershed for more than 100 years;
WHEREAS, the citizens of Portland place a strong and abiding community value on protecting the Bull Run water supply;
WHEREAS, the City of Portland has worked with the U.S. government to manage the Bull Run watershed as one of the most protected water supply watersheds in the United States;
WHEREAS, the federal Bull Run Trespass Act of 1904 set aside the Bull Run watershed to protect it from settlement and entry;
WHEREAS, Public Law 95-200 directs the USDA Forest Service to consult and coordinate with the City of Portland to ensure management programs, practices, and standards on watershed lands are protective of drinking water quality;
WHEREAS, the federal Oregon Resource Conservation Act (ORCA) of 1996 limited timber management activities in the Bull Run watershed to those needed to support water quality, water quantity, and the development, operation, and maintenance of hydropower and water supply facilities;
WHEREAS, the Forest Service, through its recent application of its various laws and policies, has demonstrated a high level of commitment to water quality in the Bull Run;
WHEREAS, no timber harvesting or road-building has occurred in the watershed for almost a decade;
WHEREAS, the current Forest Service management direction is to obliterate roads in the watershed that pose a risk to water quality and are no longer needed for protection, operation, or maintenance of the watershed;
WHEREAS, the federal Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 endorsed source water protection as a key link in a multiple barrier approach to ensuring a high quality drinking water supply; 
WHEREAS, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Oregon endorse source water protection measures as a preferred means to protect drinking water sources so that necessary treatment processes can be simpler and the results of treatment will be more reliable;
WHEREAS, the City of Portland has maintained a superior compliance record with state and federal drinking water standards;
WHEREAS, the City of Portland has modernized drinking water treatment and disinfection practices numerous times in response to health research, technological advancements, and regulatory standards;
WHEREAS, microorganisms such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium are present in low concentrations even in protected watersheds, and recent health research has shown that Cryptosporidium poses a measurable risk to certain sensitive human populations;
WHEREAS, federal Safe Drinking Water Act surface water treatment regulations, meant to protect the public from harmful microorganisms, will require continuing improvements in the use of treatment technology, including potential infiltration of currently unfiltered sources such as the Bull Run;
WHEREAS, continued dedication to source water protection will minimize long-term future capital and operating costs of treatment improvements, will require continuing improvements, including potential filtration, by limiting the amount of natural and human-caused contaminants in the untreated source water;
WHEREAS, one of the reasons to consider filtration as a potential treatment technology for the Bull Run Supply is to increase the City's ability to reliably meet the public health and safety needs of its customers under changing weather conditions, and water demand and environmental compliance requirements;
WHEREAS, the City of Portland, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the USDA Forest Service, maintains a sophisticated water quality monitoring system in the watershed;
WHEREAS, the City of Portland anticipates continuing improvement in water quality monitoring and modeling to comply with the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act, as well as the Safe Drinking Water Act;
WHEREAS, the City of Portland has made clear, in numerous resolutions and ordinances over the years, its preference for protecting and using water sources with the highest possible raw water quality;
WHEREAS, the City of Portland adopted the Regional Water Supply Plan in 1996 and one of the key policy objectives in the plan was to utilize sources with the "highest raw water quality;"
WHEREAS, the Regional Water Supply Consortium has endorsed source water protection as an important means to secure reliable high quality water supplies for the region;  and
WHEREAS, the Bull Run water supply is a valued resource for the residents of the Portland metropolitan area and serves the needs of approximately 25 percent of the population of the State of Oregon.

  1. The Council hereby announces and endorses a Source Water Protection Policy for the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit, re-affirming the Council's continuing intent that the resources of the Bull Run Management Unit are managed to continue to provide a highly-protected water supply for the Portland area.
  2. The Council finds that the protection measures for the Bull Run watershed put in place over the last one hundred years constitute a rich and lasting legacy for the City, the state and the nation.  Vigilant efforts by our community to protect this resource should be rewarded by continued vigilance in the 21st Century, regardless of changes in treatment technology applied.
  3. The Council directs the Water Bureau to implement this policy, in coordination and cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, and to use all necessary measures to ensure that raw water quality from the Bull Run watershed remains as good or better than that currently existing.
  4. The Council directs the Water Bureau to seek formal endorsement of this Source Water Protection Policy by the Forest Service, thereby also re-affirming their continuing intent that the resources of the Bull Run Management Unit be managed to continue to provide a highly-protected water supply for the Portland area.

Adopted by Resolution No. 35981, effective April 4, 2001.

Search Code, Charter, Policy