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Discolored Water in Southeast Portland Due to System Maintenance

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Portland Water Bureau crews have cleared discolored water present in SE and SW Portland.
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Friday July 1 updates

Friday July 1, 2:30 pm update

Our hydrant flushing crews have been hard at work today to clear the remaining discolored water before the holiday weekend. Our crews have finished clearing the water in areas of SE and SW that had discolored water last night and this morning. We're feeling hopeful that the water will remain clear through the weekend.

If you see discolored water over the weekend, please report this to our emergency line: 503-823-4874 ex. 1. Please don't send an email, we don't check that over weekend. Our emergency line staff will be able to send out field crews in case some discolored water persists through the weekend.

Thank you so much for your patience this week. We have so appreciated all your reports of discolored water, this has helped us know where we needed to send our field crews to resolve this event.

Friday July 1, 12:00 pm update

Our hydrant flushing crews continue working in SE and SW to clear remaining discolored water out of the water system. However, reports of discolored water from community members have significantly slowed down. We are hopeful that this indicates that our hydrant flushing has been successful. 

If you still see discolored water at a cold water faucet (kitchen, bathroom, hose bib): run your cold water at the faucet where you are seeing discolored water for 2-3 minutes to clear out your plumbing and pull in fresh water from the water main in the street. If you still have discolored water at all cold water faucets after running them all for 2-3 minutes, please report your location to WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov.

If you see discolored water at your toilet but your cold water looks clear: The color remains in toilets longer because tanks don't empty with each flush, so you will continue to see color in your toilet after the water clears at your kitchen sink.

If you see discolored water in your hot water but your cold water is clear: If you have a hot water tank, the discolored water was likely pulled into the tank by hot water use while discolored water was in your area. Even slightly discolored water from the hot water tank is easiest to see when you fill up a large container with a white surface, like a bathroom tub. You have a few options, you can give it an hour or two for the particles suspended in the water to settle out, you can run a shower for a bit to move some of that discolored water out of your tank, or you can call a plumber to flush your hot water tank. 

Friday July 1, 10:30 am update

Our flushing crew in SE reports clear water in the following locations:

  • SE Long from SE 49th to SE 50th
  • SE Raymond from SE 47th to SE 49th

If you are still experiencing discolored water in SE or SW, we want to know! Please email your location to WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov.

Friday July 1, 10:00 am update

We currently have crews flushing hydrants in SW at the following locations:

  • SW Idaho & SW Loop
  • SW Pendleton between SW 45th and SW 41st
  • SW Hamilton and SW 53rd
  • SW Iowa and SW 37th

We currently have crews flushing hydrants in SE at the following location:

  • SE 49th and SE Long

Additional hydrant flushing crews will begin working in other SE locations shortly.

Friday July 1, 9:00 am update

We currently have crews flushing hydrants in SW at the following locations:

  • SW Idaho & SW Loop
  • SW Pendleton between SW 45th and SW 41st
  • SW 42nd near SW Flower

Flushing crews are currently moving into SE locations and we will update this page once they have started work.

Friday July 1, 7:30 am update

Good morning Southwest and Southeast residents. We are continuing to get reports from your areas that discolored water is persisting, thank you for sending those in! We have field crews mobilizing and they will be in your areas shortly to flush hydrants. Check back here for more updates as the crews start their work and as we identify other areas that may benefit from hydrant flushing.

We still need your reports! If you are seeing discolored water after running your cold water for about a minute, please send us your location by email at WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov.

Thursday June 30 updates

Thursday June 30, 4:00 pm update

After flushing hydrants throughout Southeast Portland for two days and in a small area of Southwest Portland today, Portland Water Bureau field crews have cleared the majority of discolored water in these areas and wrapped up their work. We appreciate everyone who reported discolored water by phone or email, this was extremely helpful for our planning team who directed our field crews to the areas that had highest need for hydrant flushing. You are our eyes and ears and play an important role during these types of events. Thank you for your help and patience as we responded to this event.

If you still see discolored water at your kitchen faucet: every hour or so, run your cold water faucet for a minute to see if the color clears. If not, wait another hour and try again. Once your water runs clear, run other cold water faucets to clear out the rest of the water in your home plumbing. If you still have discolored cold water on Friday morning, please send us your location by email at WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov. This will help us understand what areas still have lingering discolored water.

If you see discolored water at your toilet but your cold water looks clear: The color remains in toilets longer because tanks don't empty with each flush, so you will continue to see color in your toilet after the water clears at your kitchen sink.

If you see discolored water in your hot water but your cold water is clear: If you have a hot water tank, the discolored water was likely pulled into the tank by hot water use while discolored water was in your area. You have a few options, you can give it an hour or two for the particles suspended in the water to settle out, you can run a shower for a bit to move some of that discolored water out of your tank, or you can call a plumber to flush your hot water tank.

Thursday June 30, 1:55 pm update

Southeast Portland update

We are getting reports from our field crews and customers that water has cleared up overall in Southeast Portland. We still have some crews working in the following areas:

  • SE 62nd between Cooper & Harney
  • SE 14th between Yukon and Flavel

Our field crews have confirmed clear water in the following areas:

  • SE 21st between Harold and Knapp
  • SE Cora between 42nd & 52nd
  • SE 37th between Francis & Steele
  • SE 62nd between Mitchell & Tolman
  • SE Flavel between Tenino & 46th
  • SE Crystal Springs between 34th & 44th
  • SE Reed College between Tolman & Rex
  • SE 19th between Lambert & Marion
  • SE 15th between Malden & Harney
  • SE 9th Ave between Lambert & Marion
  • SE Rex St between 45th & 35th
  • SE 52nd between Boise & Powell

If you are in Southeast and still see discolored water, please run your kitchen faucet for a minute or so to see if the discoloration clears. If you are seeing a tint in your toilet, please check your kitchen faucet to see if the color is there as well before reporting it to us. The color remains in toilets longer because tanks don't empty with each flush, so you will continue to see color in your toilet after the water clears at your kitchen sink. If you are still seeing discolored water at your kitchen sink after running it for a minute, please let us know at WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov.

Southwest Portland update

The discolored water has crossed the river from Southeast to some parts of Southwest Portland, mainly the Hillsdale area. We have moved some of our crews from SE to SW to flush hydrants in this new area and limit the spread of the discolored water. 

Crews are working in the following areas:

  • SW Vermont from Idaho Terr to 30th
  • SW Idaho & Vermont
  • SW Capitol Hwy between Bertha & Cheltenham

Crews have confirmed clear water in the following area:

  • SW Vermont from 25th Ave to Bertha Ct

If you have discolored water in SW Portland, please run your kitchen faucet for a minute or so to see if the discoloration clears. If you are seeing a tint in your toilet, please check your kitchen faucet to see if the color is there as well before reporting it to us. The color remains in toilets longer because tanks don't empty with each flush, so you will continue to see color in your toilet after the water clears at your kitchen sink. If you are still seeing discolored water at your kitchen sink after running it for a minute, please let us know at WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov.

Thursday June 30, 12:00 pm update

We have gotten a few reports that some folks in SW Portland are now seeing discolored water. This is water that traveled from Southeast through one of our pipes that crosses the river and is now moving through parts of Southwest Portland. We have dispatched a crew that will be flushing hydrants on SW Vermont from 25th Ave to Bertha Ct. We'll post an update when that water is clear.

Crews have also confirmed the following areas have clear water:

  • SE Cora at 42nd, 45th, and 49th
  • SE 52nd at Mall, Boise, Francis, Rhone, and Powell
  • SE Crystal Springs at 34th and 37th
  • SE Reed College at Tolman, Bybee, and Rex
  • SE Rex at SE 36th, SE 37th, and SE 44th
  • SE 37th between Francis and Steele
  • SE 62nd between Mitchell and Tolman
  • SE 15th from Malden to Harney

Thursday June 30, 11:30 am update

Crews are continuing to flush hydrants in the areas listed below. Here is an updated list of intersections where crews have confirmed clear water:

  • SE Cora at 42nd, 45th, and 49th
  • SE 52nd at Mall, Boise, Francis, Rhone, and Powell
  • SE Crystal Springs at 34th and 37th
  • SE Reed College at Tolman, Bybee, and Rex

Crews will be moving into the following additional areas to flush hydrants:

  • SE 9th Ave between Lambert & Marion
  • SE Rex St between 45th & 35th

Thursday June 30, 10:15 am update

We have dispatched a number of flushing crews to flush hydrants in areas where people are still seeing discolored water. Our crews will be flushing in the following areas:

  • Along Crystal Springs in Westmoreland
  • Along SE 30th (ish) in Westmoreland
  • Along SE 13th and SE 17th in Sellwood
  • Along SE Johnson Creek Blvd in Darlington
  • Along SE 72nd in Brentwood-Darlington

Crews have already confirmed clear water at the following intersections:

  • SE 45th & SE Cora
  • SE 42nd & SE Cora
  • SE 49th & SE Cora

As crews report clear water, those locations will be posted here. Please check back throughout the day for updates.

Thursday June 30, 9:45 am update

We are getting reports that the water is clearing up for many locations, but there is still a tea color that is persisting in some areas, including Sellwood and areas just north of Johnson Creek. If you are seeing a tint in your toilet, please check your kitchen faucet to see if the color is there as well before reporting it to us. The color remains in toilets longer because tanks don't empty with each flush, so you will continue to see color in your toilet after the water clears at your kitchen sink.

If you are still seeing discolored water at your kitchen sink, please email us (WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov) and let us know your address and what your water is looking like, is it more of a light tea color or closer to dark coffee? 

We thank you for your patience as we continue to respond to this event.

Thursday June 30, 7:20 am update

Good morning. We are still getting a few reports of discolored water in SE, we appreciate you letting us know!

If you are currently experiencing discolored water, we need your help! Please email us (WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov) and let us know your address and what your water is looking like, is it more of a light tea color or closer to dark coffee? These reports will help us understand the extent of the discolored water this morning and pinpoint where we need to focus our hydrant flushing this morning.

As we mobilize our hydrant flushing crews this morning, we will post more updates here. Please check back through the morning to get the latest information.

Wednesday June 29 updates

Wednesday June 29, 4:20 pm update

Our hydrant flushing crews have been hard at work today. They have flushed water from over 75 hydrants and cleared the water for areas that have experienced discolored water since this morning. Their work shift is ending and they are finishing up their final flushes for the day. We are aware that the discolored water is still present in some areas, including Eastmoreland and Sellwood. The discolored water will naturally decrease throughout the rest of the day and night as the sediment that was stirred up in the pipes settles out. We are also seeing the discolored water continuing to move west, and may cross the river into parts of SW and NW Portland overnight. However, as the discoloration moves through the system, it will continue to dissipate and decrease. 

If you are still seeing discolored water this afternoon and into the evening, we recommend that you continue to follow our guidance about checking your tap every hour or so. If you continue to see discolored water Thursday morning, please contact the Water Quality Line and let us know.

We appreciate your patience as we responded to today's event. Check back here in the morning for an update on this situation.

Wednesday June 29, 3:00 pm update

Our hydrant flushing crews have confirmed that the water at the following intersections is running clear:

  • SE 32nd & SE Woodstock
  • SE 36th & SE Carlton
  • SE 43rd & SE Henry
  • SE 44th & SE Glenwood
  • SE 45th & SE Carlton
  • SE 47th & SE Knapp
  • SE 50th & SE Reedway
  • SE 52nd & SE Henry
  • SE 54th & SE Flavel
  • SE 54th & SE Lambert
  • SE 57th & SE Duke
  • SE 57th & SE Malden
  • SE 57th & SE Nehalem
  • SE 60th & SE Ogden
  • SE 60th & SE Lambert
  • SE 60th & SE Harney
  • From SE 50th to SE 60th between SE Powell and SE Holgate
  • SE 64th & SE Harney
  • SE 67th & SE Clatsop

Crews are continuing to flush hydrants throughout Southeast and we appreciate your patience as we respond to this situation. Please keep checking back for more updates.

Wednesday June 29, 12:00 pm update

The maintenance work is now complete. Our crews flushing hydrants throughout SE Portland are starting to see water clearing up in some places. Please continue to monitor the water at your home or business. Our crews will continue flushing hydrants today. However, it will likely take a few more hours for water to clear up throughout SE Portland. Please check back for more updates later this afternoon.

Original post (10:30 am)

What happened?

This discoloration is due to Portland Water Bureau maintenance in one of our large water main pipes that supplies drinking water to Southeast Portland. This maintenance work has stirred up the sediment and organic matter that is always present in our water mains for sections of Southeast Portland. 

How long will this last?

The maintenance work is planned for the first half of Wednesday June 29. Because of the size of the event, it may take more time than usual to clear and customers may experience discolored water throughout Wednesday. Portland Water Bureau flushing crews are working in the area to reduce the extent of the discolored water.

Are there health impacts?

Discolored water is not consistent with the quality of water that the Portland Water Bureau intends to serve to its customers. While discolored water is present, customers may choose to drink bottled water or water from their stored emergency water supplies.

What to do when you see discolored water

When water appears discolored, we recommend customers limit hot water use and avoid washing light-colored laundry. To monitor water clarity in your home or business, check one faucet every hour by running the water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Once the water appears clear or lighter, you can flush any faucets where discolored water was present. More information available at our Discolored Water page.

Look for updates about this discolored water event

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