Portland Water Bureau
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News Releases
Cryptosporidium Monitoring Update: Detections from routine monitoring in the Bull Run. Customers do not need to take any additional precautions at this time. - 11/18/21

Since 2017, the Portland Water Bureau has detected low levels of Cryptosporidium from routine monitoring of source water. The Portland Water Bureau received results from ongoing monitoring from the Bull Run Watershed intake for Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism. Two Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in the 50-liters collected on Nov. 14. From Nov. 15 to Nov. 17 the Portland Water Bureau changed the drinking water source from the Bull Run source to groundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field due to storm damage to the Lusted Hill treatment facility. On Nov. 17, after transitioning back to the Bull Run source, another 50-liters were sampled with 4 Cryptosporidium oocysts detected.  Prior to these detections, Cryptosporidium was last detected from the Bull Run Watershed intake on Oct. 17, 2021.

The Bull Run watershed is Portland’s primary source of drinking water. The Portland Water Bureau does not currently treat for Cryptosporidium, but is required to do so under drinking water regulations. Portland is working to install filtration by September 2027 under a compliance schedule with the Oregon Health Authority. In the meantime, Portland Water Bureau is implementing interim measures such as watershed protection and additional monitoring to protect public health. Consultation with public health officials has concluded that at this time, customers do not need to take any additional precautions. 

Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, a serious illness. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach pain. People with healthy immune systems recover without medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with severely weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious disease. Symptoms may be more severe and could lead to serious or life-threatening illness. Examples of people with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS, those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system, and cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that a small percentage of the population could experience gastro-intestinal illness from Cryptosporidium and advises that customers who are immunocompromised and receive their drinking water from the Bull Run Watershed consult with their healthcare professional about the safety of drinking the tap water. The Portland Water Bureau and Burlington, City of Gresham, City of Sandy, City of Tualatin, Green Valley, GNR, Hideaway Hills, Lake Grove, Lorna Domestic Water, Lusted, Palatine Hill, Pleasant Home, Raleigh, Rockwood, Skyview Acres, Tualatin Valley, Two Rivers, Valley View and West Slope Water Districts receive all or part of their drinking water supply from Bull Run. To learn if your drinking water comes from Bull Run, please contact your local drinking water provider.

The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at portland.gov/water/cryptoresults. The bureau will notify the media and public immediately should further test results indicate a risk to public health and precautions are necessary.

Customers with questions regarding water quality can call the Water Quality 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.

Attached Media Files: MEDIA_RELEASE_11182021.docx
Portland returns to Bull Run Water in less than 36 hours -- Groundwater system, skilled staff prevent water service disruption - 11/17/21

Today, Nov. 17, the Water Bureau returned to serving water from the Bull Run Watershed. Thanks to our groundwater system and the rapid response of skilled staff, Portlanders experienced no service interruptions when a storm damaged our Lusted Hill treatment facility on Monday, Nov. 15. The damage required a transition to groundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field. Emergency repairs to the Lusted Hill treatment facility have been completed, allowing us to return to the Bull Run source.

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

“Portlanders benefitted from the long-term planning and investment of their funds in a resilient water system. This is what you're paying for—reliable water service in uncertain times,” said Portland Water Bureau Director Gabriel Solmer. “Every unexpected incident is an opportunity for us to learn and better prepare for the future.”

Portlanders continue to invest in their water system for a sustainable future. These investments include the new, seismically resilient reservoir at Washington Park, the Bull Run Treatment Projects and our distribution mains replacement program. 

Groundwater is here when we need it

The Columbia South Shore Well Field performed as intended, meeting our community’s drinking water needs. Portland is fortunate to have access to two excellent water sources that meet or surpass all federal and state drinking water regulations. This allows us to be prepared for the range of conditions, including damage from storms. 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.

Anyone with water quality questions is encouraged visit portland.gov/water/report-water-quality-issues, email wbwaterline@portlandoregon.gov or call the Water Line at 503-823-7525 with questions.

 

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.

Attached Media Files: GW_Off_111721.docx
Portland Water Bureau Transitions to Groundwater as Result of Storm Damage - 11/15/21

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.

Attached Media Files: GW_111521.docx