• SkyWest Airlines

We were all terribly inconvenienced in late May, when a series of bacterium-ridden test results meant Portland's water supply was under a boil order for a day. Utah-based SkyWest Airlines is perhaps the only entity demanding $40,000 for that inconvenience.

The airline has filed a tort claim notice with the city—the first step in a potential lawsuit—saying it was burdened with dumping and testing water it picked up at Portland International Airport from May 20-23, when consecutive tests turned up evidence of dreaded E. coli in the water supply. Its total costs, including employee time and paying for lab results, totaled $37,687—money SkyWest says the city should have to pay.

From the claim:

SkyWest Airlines received notification from the City of Portland that the potable water received at PDX Airport had possible contamination. Our Maintenance Dept. immediately began researching which of our aircraft had been through PDX during May 20-23, 2014, and taking appropriate measures to drain, cleanse, sanitize and sample all potable water on the aircraft. ... Please note: the potable was immediately drained and the system deferred until the aircraft could fly through a base where the sanitization and sampling could take place.

SkyWest filed the notice back in July, and doesn't appear to have filed suit. That's doesn't mean it won't. A tort claim is a necessary step before suing the city, and needs to be sent within 180 days of the alleged damage. We asked a company spokesperson yesterday whether a lawsuit's in the works. He promised to call us back, but hasn't.

Here's a blurry itemization of SkyWest's claimed costs.


Water bureau employees test water from our above-ground reservoirs incessantly, and alerted customers on May 23, after three tests for the bacteria came back positive. The order was lifted on May 24. Boil orders don't necessarily mean anyone's in danger, but the City of Portland errs on the side of caution in such instances.

You never know who might file a lawsuit.