PORTLAND, Ore. -- Residents and businesses west of the Willamette River that have Portland water as a source may now drink tap water without boiling it first, according to Portland Water Bureau. Upstream and downstream tests conducted since the notice was issued Saturday were clear of contamination. As a precaution, the reservoir is being drained and will be inspected.
The Bureau recommends flushing all taps for 2 minutes, or until the water runs cold, before consuming it for the first time in order to flush any potentially contaminated water from the plumbing.
"Although these bacteria are generally not harmful, their presence in drinking water could indicate harmful organisms might have entered the distribution system, so we are taking every precaution to protect our customers," said Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff.
Experts advised all customers of the following water districts to boil water before using it:
-Portland Water Bureau West of the Willamette River
-Burlington Water District
-Valley View Water District
-Palatine Hills Water District
-City of Tigard
-Lake Grove Water District
-West Slope Water District
Customers of Tualatin Valley Water District, Southwood Water District, and Raleigh Hills Water District were not affected by the Boil Water Notice. Hillsboro Water Department customers were also not affected because they receive all of their water from the Joint Water Commission (JWC) Treatment Plant.
The City of Portland issued the following statement and information about the possible water comination:
A routine sample collected early July 19, 2012, at Reservoir 3 outlet in Washington Park came back positive for total coliform and E. coli bacteria. The reservoir was shut off and follow-up samples were collected immediately on Friday, July 20, 2012. Results of these samples were available this morning. A follow-up sample tested positive for total coliform. Total coliform and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes.
Microbes in these waters can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
These symptoms are not only caused by organisms in drinking water. People experiencing any of these symptoms and they persist, may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
What should I do? What does this mean to me?
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST OR USE BOTTLED WATER.
Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Bring all water to a rolling boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. Ice or any beverages prepared with tap water after July 19, 2012 should be discarded.
What is being done?
The Portland Water Bureau took the reservoir out of service immediately and is conducting extensive sampling throughout the affected area. The Portland Water Bureau will announce when tests show no bacteria and boiling water is no longer necessary.
An investigation into determining the source of contamination is ongoing. The reservoir may be put back into service once it is determined to be safe to do so. For more information and updates on this situation, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water.