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City of Portland Boil Water Notice Lifted

Boil Water Notice

Saturday, May 24, 2014: Tap water is safe to drink, boil water notice ends

As of 11:00 AM Saturday May 24, 2014, the Boil Water Notice issued on May 23, 2014 is lifted. The Portland Water Bureau recommends flushing all taps for 2 minutes or until the water runs cold before consuming for the first time. This will flush any potentially contaminated water from the plumbing.

Friday, May 23, 2014: Notice Issued

The City of Portland issued a boil water notice for much of the city, affecting nearly 670,000 water customers. The notice was due to routine tests showing the presence of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria in parts of the water supply.If E. coli bacteria are present in drinking water, they could make people sick and are of particular concern for people with weakened immune systems. Its presence in drinking water is a clear indication of fecal contamination and also indicates that the organisms in that waste are still living in the water. Water that tests positive for E. coli could contain pathogens and is risky to drink without adequate disinfection. Bringing contaminated water to a boil for one minute is a reliable way of disinfecting it.

Who was affected?

All Portland Water Bureau customers and some regional water providers were impacted by this notice. Visit the Portland Water Bureau's website for details and maps of affected areas.

What residents should do during a boil notice

Boiling water kills the E. coli bacterium.
  • Boil tap water for one minute and let it cool before using it, or use bottled water.
  • Use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation.
  • Discard any ice you have that was made from local tap water.
  • It is not necessary to boil water for your pets.


On Wednesday, May 21, the City of Portland notified Drinking Water Services at the Oregon Public Health Division that a water sample taken from an outlet at one of its eastside open reservoirs, Reservoir 1, tested positive for the presence of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria.

On Thursday, May 22, repeat sampling from Reservoir 1 was negative. However, a routine sample result in the distribution showed a presence of E. coli on May 22. While repeat sample results from the distribution system were negative on May 23, a routine sample result from eastside open Reservoir 5 released this morning showed the presence of E. coli. As a result, Drinking Water Services is requiring the city to issue a boil water notice to residents in Portland, Burlington Water District, parts of the City of Gresham (north of I-84), Lake Grove Water District, Lorna Water Company, Palatine Hill Water District, Rockwood PUD, Tigard Water Service Area, a small portion of TVWD (approximately 170 customers), Valley View, and West Slope. The notice affects an estimated 670,000 Portland water consumers and wholesale customers.

Portland has taken Reservoir 1 and 5 out of service and will conduct additional sampling in the affected area on Friday, May 23.

Oregon Drinking Water Quality Act

Enacted in 1981, the statute (periodically amended) includes Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 448.119 to 448.285;454.235; and 454.255. The purpose of the above act is (in part) to:
  • Ensure that all Oregonians have safe drinking water.
  • Provide a simple and effective regulatory program for drinking water systems.
  • Provide a means to improve inadequate drinking water systems.

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