Lucy Ohlsen / OPB
“We know and regret that this is an inconvenience,” he said, but added that public health must be the priority. Fish and other city officials directed concerned residents to a water bureau website, but the site was inaccessible for much of the morning, perhaps due to too much use. City officials said they were working on shoring up the site, which will allow residents to look up their address and see if they are affected by the order.
The advisory will remain in effect further notice. New test results are due in on Saturday morning.
“We may never discover the actual cause of the contamination,” said David Shaff, Portland Water Bureau administrator.
Dr. Paul Lewis, the health officer for Multnomah and Clackamas Counties, told reporters he doesn’t expect a detectable increase in diarrheal illness from the incident.
The city of Portland has issued a boil water notice for all Portland Water Bureau customers.
Until further notice, all Portland Water Bureau customers and those in the affected areas should boil all tap water used for drinking, food preparation, tooth brushing and ice for at least one minute. Ice or any beverages prepared with un-boiled tap water on or after May 20 should be discarded.
In three separate incidents from May 20 to May 23, repeat water samples confirmed the presence of coliform and E. coli in routine drinking water samples. The water samples that tested positive for bacteria were collected at the outlets of Mt. Tabor Reservoirs 1 and 5, and at the SE 2nd Avenue and Salmon Street water sampling station.
Both reservoirs have been taken offline.
Press release from Portland Water District
Boil Water Order In Effect For All Portland Water District Customers
The State of Oregon Health Authority’s Drinking Water Program has required the City of Portland to issue a Boil Water Notice for all Portland Water Bureau customers and some regional water providers.
Until further notice, all Portland Water Bureau customers and those in the affected areas should boil all tap water used for drinking, food preparation, tooth brushing and ice for at least one minute. Ice or any beverages prepared with un-boiled tap water on or after May 20 should be discarded. Detailed maps, fact sheets and additional information can be found on the Water Bureau’s website at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/boilwaternotice or by calling Customer Service at 503-823-7770.
In three separate incidents from May 20 to May 23, repeat water samples confirmed the presence of total coliform and E. coli in routine drinking water samples. The water samples that tested positive for bacteria were collected at the outlets of Mt. Tabor Reservoirs 1 and 5, and at the SE 2nd Avenue and Salmon Street water sampling station. Both reservoirs have been taken offline.
All Portland Water Bureau customers are affected. Also affected are customers of the following water providers:
- Burlington Water District
- City of Gresham (North of I-84)
- Lake Grove Water District
- Lorna Portland Water
- Palatine Hill Water District
- Rockwood Water District
- Tigard Water Service Area (including Durham, King City and Bull Mountain)
- Valley View Water District
- West Slope Water District
“While we believe at this time that the potential health risk is relatively small, we take any contamination seriously and are taking every precaution to protect public health,” said Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff.
Consuming boiled and bottled water will ensure public health protection until the Water Bureau can determine that the water system is clean of contamination through surveillance sampling. Customers will be notified when they no longer have to boil their water. The Portland Water Bureau is working with the Multnomah County Health Department to provide health-related information to the public.
“The chance of any health problems related to this water test result is low. If any problems occur, we would expect diarrhea,” said Dr. Paul Lewis, Interim Tri-County Health Officer. “We monitor cases of bacterial diarrhea and will be aware of any increase following this event.”
The Portland Water Bureau collects approximately 240 routine bacterial samples per month throughout the system. The test to determine the presence of bacteria takes about 18 hours. It is not unusual for one of these samples to test positive for bacteria. Samples to confirm possible contamination are collected immediately after an initial detection of the presence of bacteria in drinking water. Once the detection has been confirmed, public health officials recommend that the public boil all tap water before consuming.
Contamination can occur when there is a loss of water pressure, a pipe breaks, or conditions that expose drinking water to outside elements. The Portland Water Bureau is performing a full investigation to identify the cause of the contamination. However, it is not always possible to make an exact determination.
Customers can visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water/boilwaternotice to determine if their home or business is in the Boil Water Notice area. The Boil Water Notice, fact sheets and contact information are provided on this same website. For more information, affected customers should contact the Portland Water Bureau Customer Service at 503-823-7770. Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency. Follow updates on Twitter at #PDXBOIL.
Continued Updates at OPB.org: Boil Water Order In Effect For All Portland Water Bureau Customers