Homeowners in Portland who experienced burst or leaking pipes during the recent winter weather event in January 2024 have the opportunity to request adjustments or credits to their sewer, stormwater, and water bills, providing relief from increased water usage charges.
The Portland Water Bureau manages and maintains all pipes up to and including the water meter. However, it’s crucial for property owners to note that repairing broken pipes on the customer’s side of the meter is their responsibility. In the event of damage to pipes owned by the Portland Water Bureau, individuals are urged to contact the 24-hour Emergency Line at 503-823-4874, option 1.
Winter water usage directly influences sewer charges throughout the year. The Portland Water Bureau determines water use by measuring the flow through water meters. Single-family homes do not have individual sewer meters, so sewer charges are based on winter water consumption. Homeowners can learn more about how winter water use affects sewer charges through the winter newsletter.
A winter leak could result in increased year-round sewer charges. Qualifying individuals for a leak adjustment will also have their sewer charges considered for a credit. For those not eligible for a leak adjustment, the bureau is open to reviewing accounts and potentially lowering sewer charges on future bills.
Water leaks can lead to significant water usage, and failure to request a bill adjustment will result in charges at the normal water rate for the leaked water. Key points to note include:
• Adjustments can only occur after the bureau has read the meter and recorded the increased usage on a bill.
• Customers must repair the leak and apply for a leak adjustment within 90 days of receiving the bill with increased usage.
• To extend the due date on a higher bill, homeowners can request a payment arrangement.
Bills can only be adjusted for water leaks, and usage related to preventing frozen pipes, such as letting faucets drip, is not eligible for a leak adjustment.
To get a bill adjusted, homeowners must follow these steps:
• Find and fix the leak. Adjustments can only be granted after the leak is repaired.
• Contact the Customer Service team by phone at 503-823-7770 or via email at [email protected].
• Provide necessary information, including today’s date, customer name, account number, customer address, home and work phone numbers, date the leak was discovered and repaired, and a description of the leak and its repair.
For residents seeking help with leak repairs or other resources, the Portland Water Bureau recommends visiting their local home repair resources page. The page includes a list of organizations that may provide assistance. Additionally, the Bureau of Development Service’s website offers more information on repairing various storm damage.
Residents experiencing trouble locating leaks or needing assistance with other utilities like natural gas and electricity are encouraged to contact 211 for further support.