We're upgrading your drinking water treatment
Portland has excellent water—you know that every time you turn on the tap. For decades, we’ve treated the water with chlorine, ammonia, and sodium hydroxide to keep it safe. Better treatment will help us continue to meet current and future water quality requirements.
Coming in 2022
We’re working now on a treatment change that will make the water even less corrosive to your plumbing. The new process will raise the water’s pH and alkalinity to reduce the amount of lead that can leach into the water.
Coming in 2027
Filtration will remove sediments, Cryptosporidium, and other disease-causing microorganisms from our drinking water starting in 2027.
For our health: making sure our water is safe for everyone
- Bull Run water will be less corrosive to lead in home and building plumbing.
- Our water will be better protected from toxins, bacteria, and viruses by using proven treatments. Treatment will reduce regulated compounds that can cause cancer (disinfection byproducts) by removing organics in the water.
For our future: providing a more resilient water system and greater protection
- The Bull Run supply will be available more quickly after a fire, landslide, or major storm.
- New facilities and pipelines will be built to better withstand an earthquake.
- Improved treatment will prepare the City to better respond to future water quality regulations.
For our economy: creating jobs and investing in infrastructure to help our community thrive
- The Bull Run Treatment Projects will create thousands of jobs in the Portland metropolitan area.
- Projects will include Community Benefits Agreements to increase opportunities for underrepresented populations.
- Filtration will allow us to more consistently deliver the high-quality water that our diverse industries and local businesses depend on.
How we're financing the treatment projects
Funding for the Bull Run treatment projects will come in part from a loan from the federal government. This loan will help us smooth rate increases over time, so bills increase gradually instead of all at once.
Having trouble paying your bill?
If you can’t pay your full bill, get in touch! You may be able to make a payment arrangement or sign up for financial assistance. firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-823-7770.
Protect your family from lead in water
Take a look at our lead and drinking water page to find out how you can order a free lead-in-water test kit and protect your family from lead.
Help keep utility workers safe
Utility workers have kept Portland’s water and sewer systems working through the pandemic. You can help keep them safe:
- If you’re driving by a work zone, slow down and follow flaggers’ instructions.
- Keep children and pets away from work zones and equipment.
- If you want to ask a question, wear a mask and keep that six feet of distance.
Add native plants to your garden
Gardening with native plants helps protect our rivers and streams. When it rains, the rain can pick up fertilizers and pesticides from our lawns or gardens and carry that pollution to nearby streams. By eliminating the need for chemicals, native plants help keep pollution out of the
water flowing into our local streams.
Wondering where to find native plants at this time? Here's a list of local nurseries. East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District provides resources for online plant swaps and local plant sales and free webinars on sustainable gardening.