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About Bull Run Treatment Projects

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Bull Run Treatment Projects Improvements 

We are making important improvements to our water supply from Bull Run to help keep our water safe and abundant for generations to come. Both projects are required under state and federal law. 

  • The first project, Improved Corrosion Control Treatmentwill further adjust the chemistry of our water, reducing potential levels of lead at the tap. Improved corrosion control will be in place by April 2022. 
  • The second project, Bull Run Filtration will remove the microorganism Cryptosporidium and other potential contaminants from our water. The new filtration facility will be in operation by Sept. 2027. 
Watch the video to learn about the Bull Run Treatment Projects

Benefits for Our Health, Economy, and Future

We’re making lasting, long-term investments in the Bull Run Treatment Projects to further protect our health, support our economy, and prepare for our future. 

Benefits for Our Health

Illustration of a sparkling glass of water

We care about the health of the people and families we serve. The Bull Run Treatment Projects are designed to further protect our health and make our water even safer for everyone. 

  • Reduced risk from lead at the tap: Lead at elevated levels can cause serious health problems, especially for young children and pregnant women. Improved Corrosion Control Treatment will adjust water pH and alkalinity to further reduce lead and other metals that can get into drinking water from home and building plumbing. 
  • Protection from disease-causing microorganisms: The new filtration facility will remove Cryptosporidiumand other disease-causing microorganisms from our water to make it even safer. 
  • Protection for the most vulnerable: The filtration facility will take a multi-barrier approach to help protect the health of everyone, especially our most vulnerable populations. 
  • Compliance with water quality regulations: The projects use proven treatment methods and comply with federal and state water quality standards.   

Benefits for Our Economy

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Our local businesses, industries, and the people who work and live in our community will benefit economically today—and down the road—from the investments we’re making with the Bull Run Treatment Projects.  

  • Increased construction jobs: The Bull Run Treatment Projects are estimated to generate between 4,700 to 7,500 direct construction jobs with 28 percent of journey work hours and 31 of apprentice work hours going to minorities and women in the skilled construction trades.
  • Increased opportunities for underrepresented communities: The projects will deliver an estimated $200 million in contracts to disadvantaged, minority-owned, women-owned, service-disabled veteran owned, and emerging small businesses certified by the Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity.  
  • Important economic stimulus: For every $1 million invested in water infrastructure, it is estimated that upwards of fifteen jobs are generated throughout the United States economy (Source: IMPLAN 2015, 2017 Value of Water Campaign).
  • Consistent, high-quality water supports our diverse industries: These projects will deliver critical infrastructure to support local manufacturing, healthcare, high technology, hospitality, food and beverage, and other businesses vital to our local and regional economy.   

Benefits for Our Future

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We’re designing and building the Bull Run Treatment Projects to enhance our water system’s resilience, reduce future risks, and better protect our customers. 

  • Enhanced seismic resilience: The new filtration facility and the pipelines connecting the filtration facility to the existing water supply system will be designed to modern seismic standards and will be key components of a more resilient water system. 
  • Filtration helps prepare us for fire and other emergencies: The new filtration facility will help reduce our risk and enable Bull Run water to be used safely after a fire or other emergency puts ash, silt, debris, or other contaminants in the water.
  • Investing wisely now to position us for future water quality regulations: We're using low-cost, long-term Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act financing to help build the projects and are designing the treatment facilities to support future state and federal regulations.

Project Funding and Affordability

We're committed to making wise investments in the future of our drinking water. The Bull Run Treatment Projects are funded through business and residential customer rates and by borrowing money over time. To keep water rates affordable, we are gradually increasing rates each year to avoid rate spikes. We also continue to seek efficiencies in bureau operations and programs and explore financing options throughout the life of the projects. 

Low-cost, Long-term Federal Financing 

We secured a low-cost, long-term Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan to help build the projects. Among other benefits, this financing provides at least $247 million of debt-service savings over the loan term. 

Financial Assistance Program

We will continue to assist those who struggle to afford their bill through our expanded low-income assistance program. If you’re having trouble affording your bill, our Financial Assistance program may be able to help.


Community Outreach 

Engaging with the community, gathering feedback, and keeping people informed about our Bull Run Treatment Projects is a priority to us.  Check out our community outreach history and upcoming opportunities to get involved.

Join the Conversation


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Want more information? Contact us or check out: 

News and notices

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Past Events

At the June 10, 2021, meeting, Advisors heard from Director Gabriel Solmer about the Water Bureau's commitment to the Good Neighbor Agreement, and received an update on facility and site design progress. Related materials and options to share your feedback are below.
At the May 13, 2021, meeting, Advisors heard from Water Bureau leads for communication, design, construction, and operation how Good Neighbor commitments will be upheld. Related materials and options to share your feedback are below.
Virtual OMSI Science Pub: The Science of Clean, Safe Drinking Water with Kimberly Gupta, Bull Run Supply and Treatment Manager for the Portland Water Bureau.