Portland switching water source due to cryptosporidium at Bull R - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland switching water source due to cryptosporidium at Bull Run

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The Portland Water Bureau is switching water sources due to positive tests for cryptosporidium at the Bull Run Watershed.

The bureau announced that 100 percent groundwater will be delivered from the Columbia South Shore Well Field beginning Monday.

The action is not required, according to the Portland Water Bureau, but it is being done "out of an abundance of caution."

There have been six positive samples of cryptosporidium at Bull Run this year. The levels were low and do not pose a public health risk, according to the bureau.

"After a series of very low level detections, we are proactively activating our secondary source while we collect more data," said Michael Stuhr, Water Bureau administrator. "The City continues to be in compliance with the treatment variance issued by the Oregon Health Authority."

No specific source has been identified, but bureau workers said waste from wildlife may have washed into the reservoirs during the winter storms. 

Bull Run will continue to be tested for cryptosporidium and a decision on when to re-activate it will be made after evaluation of additional information and consultation with public health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes cryptosporidium as a microscopic parasite that can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever.

The Columbia South Shore Well Field meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water regulations, according to the Portland Water Bureau. It is most often used in the summer when the region's water demand increases.

It may take up to two weeks, depending on location, for groundwater to make its way through the distribution system to homes and businesses.

The Portland Water Bureau reports that it does not currently treat for cryptosporidium because of a variance issued by the State of Oregon Health Authority in 2012. 

Customers with questions are encouraged to call the Portland Water Bureau at 503-823-7525.

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