by Michael Rollins

Posted on November 28, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Updated today at 12:09 PM

PORTLAND -- A "Boil Water Notice" remained in effect Sunday for all customers west of the Willamette River, including the Valley View, Burlington and Palatine Hill Water Districts.

The Water Bureau sent out an updated link to a better map of the affected area.

You can also call the Water Bureau at (503) 823-7770. Link here to the Water Bureau.

All tap water should be boiled at full roil for at least a minute. Any stored water or ice should be tossed. The precaution should be used until further notice from the Portland Water Bureau. Further test results will be available Sunday.

The caution is caused by presence of E. Coli in Reservoir 3 at Washington Park. The E. Coli likely came from human or animal waste, said Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Gary Oxman.

No illnesses have been reported so far at hospital or clinics, Oxman said, but the diagnosis process "will play out over a period of several days."

The Water Bureau provided answered to basic questions.

What's going on?
A boil water notice is in effect for the City of Portland west of the Willamette River and customers of Palatine Hill, Burlington and Valley View water districts.  This means that water from the tap should not be consumed in any form unless it has been brought to a rolling boil for a full minute.
This notice is required by the State and Federal government when water quality standards are suspected of being compromised.

What do I do?
All water used for drinking, brushing teeth, gargling, food preparation, rinsing dishesand icemaking should be boiled at a full rolling boil for at least 1 minute. Ice or any beverages prepared with un-boiled tap water should be discarded.

Activities that require boiled water:
Washing food served without cooking or baking; adding water to food without cooking/baking; ice making; cleaning food contact surfaces.

Activities that do not require boiled water:
Showering (do not allow water in mouth); baths; laundering General cleaning, pet watering or bathing; watering plants.

How many people are affected?
Approximately 50,000 people are affected.

How will I know when I can stop boiling water?
The boil water notice is in effect until further notification from the Water Bureau.  Additional testing results should be available the afternoon of Sunday November 29th. Further information regarding the boil water notice will be released by the Water Bureau at that time.

Will my in-home filtration system or hot water tap work as a substitute?
Filtration systems vary considerably. You should boil the water. A hot-water on demand tap will not kill the bacteria.

I own a restaurant, what do I do?
Restaurants on the west side of the Willamette River need to observe the boil water order.

Water served to customers must be boiled for at least one minute. This includes water used for ice making, table water, food preparation, and rinsing dishes.

Tap water combined with dish soap can be used to clean dishes, utensils and cooking ware. Boiled water must be used to rinse and clean kitchen and dining room surfaces.

Call the Multnomah County Health Department  (503) 988-3663, extension 24662 for restaurant information. More information will also be available during regular business hours.

How often do you sample?
The water at Reservoir 3 is sampled 4 days per week.

When was Reservoir 3 taken off-line?
Reservoir 3 was taken offline at 9:30 a.m. Saturday November 28, 2009.

Is it possible that the contamination was intentional?
The source of the contamination is unknown, and an investigation is under way. The reservoir is being drained.  Results will not be available for several days.

How was the E. coli discovered?
On Thursday November 26 2009 routine water sampling results from Reservoir 3 in Washington Park indicated the presence of Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli.

On Saturday November 28th, results from a resample of Reservoir 3 water indicated the presence of E. coli in the reservoir. The reservoir was taken offline and is being drained.

Further sampling has been conducted throughout the affected area to isolate the source of contamination. … 19992.html