PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Water Bureau announced ahead of this week’s freezing winter storm that precautions can be taken to protect homes from water damage caused by burst pipes.

“The Portland Water Bureau is staffed and ready to respond to weather-related main breaks and service disruptions, and we will respond as quickly as we can, putting safety first,” the Portland Water Bureau said. “But we can’t do it all, especially when it comes to the water that’s moved into the pipes of your home.”

The City of Portland recommends taking the following precautions ahead of this week’s winter storm:

  • Note the location of all shut-off valves so you’re ready to turn off the water quickly if a pipe inside your home breaks. If pipes break, make sure to turn off your water heater, too, to prevent it from pulling water into a pipe that’s already leaking or broken. 
  • Wrap outdoor faucets and hose bibs in newspapers, rags, or hose big/faucet covers. 
  • Open the cupboards under your sinks so pipes get more heat.
  • Let it drip: If temperatures dip below freezing, leave a slight drip of cold water to prevent water and pipes from freezing. 
  • Help us help you: If you see the ground buckle with water coming up from the street or sidewalk, it could be a main break. Report it to our 24-hour Emergency Line at 503-823-4874.
Some of the many Benson Bubblers in Portland, 2022 (Portland Water Bureau)
One of the Benson Bubblers around Portland, 2022. (Portland Water Bureau)

Most of the city’s “bubbler” drinking fountains have also been shut off this week to prevent potential ice hazards on city sidewalks and streets.

“As temperatures drop, the water on the fountain can leak onto sidewalks, causing a hazard for sidewalk users,” PWB said. “Our bubblers are also a critical drinking water source for people living outside, so we leave a couple of bubblers on.”

Pedestrians are asked to be cautious while walking around the few bubbler fountains that will remain in use during the storm. These active drinking fountains are located at the intersections of Wheeler and Holladay, 6th and Burnside, and at Waterfront Park near Everett Street.