Residents in the city of Portland, Oregon are being told not to drink their tap water without boiling it first as officials are investigating how the city’s water supply became contaminated with E. coli.
The Boil Water notice was issued today after health officials detected E. coli bacteria in water samples at three locations over a three-day period.
“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,” the water bureau said on its website.
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, causing 670,000 people to placed under a boil water order. It is the largest boil water notice in the city’s history.
“We’re painfully aware that we’re going into a holiday weekend and that this is an inconvenience for people,” City Commissioner Nick Fish said. “We regret that, but we’re also guided by good science and regulations.”
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