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Portland Water Bureau Transitions to Groundwater as Result of Storm Damage

News Article
The water remains safe to drink. The Portland Water Bureau operates a resilient water system, with two excellent supplies of water. Because of heavy rain in the Bull Run Watershed, we have switched to using our groundwater system.
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Today, Nov. 15, the Water Bureau is activating groundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field for an undetermined amount of time. This change from Bull Run water to groundwater is in response to storm damage at our Lusted Hill treatment facility.  

Due to the damage, we are unable to provide consistent water treatment from the Bull Run Watershed and will instead serve 100 percent groundwater. We are assessing the extent of the damage and the length of time until we are able to reactivate the Bull Run drinking water supply. 

No action is needed by the public. Your water remains safe to drink.  

Groundwater is here when we need it 

The Columbia South Shore Well Field is doing what it was designed to do, meeting our community’s drinking water needs and complying with Safe Drinking Water regulations. Portland is fortunate to have access to two excellent water sources. This allows us to be prepared for the range of conditions, including damage from storms.  

“Groundwater is one of our most powerful tools in planning for emergency supply response and climate change,” said Portland Water Bureau Director Gabriel Solmer. “We can expect more extreme weather events like the recent rains that have impacted the region. Groundwater allows us to reliably provide water to people when severe storms impact the Bull Run Watershed or we have other supply disruptions.”  

The Columbia South Shore Well Field is a high-quality water supply which meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water regulations. It may take up to two weeks, depending on your location, for the change in source water to make its way through the distribution system to homes and businesses. 

For questions, call the Water Line at 503-823-7525. 

About the Portland Water Bureau

The Portland Water Bureau serves water to almost a million people in the Portland area. Portland’s water system includes two great water sources, 53 tanks and reservoirs, and 2,200 miles of pipes. With 600 employees working on everything from water treatment to customer service, the Water Bureau is committed to serving excellent water every minute of every day.