COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: Extreme Risk

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

News article

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 pageEmail 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.)