Portland will dispose of 38 million gallons of treated reservoir water after learning that a 19-year-old man urinated into it, even though urine-tainted drinking water is apparently not much of a health risk.
Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff said that animals urinate into the reservoir often and that there's no real problem with that, but this is different because it (naturally) makes everyone feel super weird -- or, as he put it, "I could be wrong on that, but the reality is our customers don't anticipate drinking water that's been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir."You're not wrong.
The perp was seen peeing through an iron fence into Mount Tabor Reservoir No. 5 around 1 a.m. by security cameras and has been cited for public urination. He was accompanied by two others, ages 18 and 19, who tried (only one succeeded) to scale the fence surrounding the reservoir. All three have been given citations for trespassing.
In describing the footage, Shaff said that there's "really no doubt" what he's doing. "When you see the video, he’s leaning right up because he has to get his little wee wee right up to the iron bars."
The reservoir has been shut down while it is being tested for contamination. Shaff explains that it's not all that hard to replace 38 million gallons of water, saying, somewhat boastfully that, "we're not in the arid Southwest; we're not in drought-stricken parts of Texas or Oklahoma." Still, some think that the flush is a waste. Floy Jones, who co-founded the group Friends of the Reservoir, argues that there's no proof any of the urine reached the reservoir and reminded us that it wouldn't even matter if it did.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.