PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — The Portland Water Bureau has temporarily switched the city’s water supply to the Columbia South Shore Well Field because of turbidity in the Bull Run Reservoir caused by recent heavy rains.

Turbidity is organic material suspended in the water. Operations Manager Chris Wanner said the transition from Bull Run water to 100% groundwater went smoothly.

“It’s important that our community members know how incredibly fortunate we are to have two reliable water sources,” said Wanner. “It doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of decades of hard work by highly skilled water workers, and the ongoing support of the people who pay the water bill.

Deputy Director Edward Campbell said groundwater is one of our most powerful tools in planning for climate change.

The Portland Tribune is a media partner with KOIN 6 News

“We can expect more extreme weather events. Groundwater allows us to reliably provide water to people when severe storms affect the Bull Run watershed,”Campbell said.

A new Bull Run filtration facility is being built that will enable the bureau to reliably serve Bull Run water after an event like an extreme storm that puts silt, debris, or other contaminants in the water. It will also remove disease-causing microorganisms from our water to make it even safer, the bureau said.

The Columbia South Shore Well Field was developed to augment the Bull Run supply during hot dry summers and to serve as a secondary supply when conditions such as sudden storms impact the Bull Run supply. Like the Bull Run supply, groundwater from the well field is a high-quality water supply that meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water quality standards. It can produce high quality drinking water from wells, which have been drilled into protected aquifers deep below the ground.

“It’s important that our community members know how incredibly fortunate we are to have two reliable water sources.”

–Operations Manager Chris Wanner

Depending on the household’s location, it can take up to two weeks for groundwater to move through the distribution system and gradually replace Bull Run water at the tap. The bureau will operate the groundwater system as long as weather conditions and water quality dictate. Notification will be provided when the system returns to 100 percent Bull Run water.

Learn more about the Columbia South Shore Well Field at www.portland.gov/water/about-portlands-water-system/about-groundwater

Customers with questions are encouraged to contact the Water Line at 503.823.7525