Jennifer Chait

Portland, Oregon Dumps Millions of Gallons of Drinking Water After Teen Urinates Into Reservoir

by , 04/17/14
filed under: Architecture, News, Water Issues

Portland administrators have agreed to flush away 38 million gallons of formerly clean drinking water from Mt. Tabor Reservoir after a Portland Water Bureau video camera caught a teenager urinating directly into the City of Roses’ drinking supply. The 19-year-old was apprehended and eventually given a citation for public urination, but the damage to the water supply is already done. The video caught the teen and some friends messing around doing typical teen stuff near the reservoir, but the highlight was when one teen stopped, leaned against the iron fence, hitched up his pants and decided to contaminate the water supply.

water waste, water conservation, portland oregon, PDX water, clean water, urine in water supply

Water Bureau administrator David Shaff tells the Oregonian, “When you see the video… There’s really no doubt what he’s doing. It’s stupid. You can see the sign that says: ‘This is your drinking water. Don’t spit, throw, toss anything in it.’ He’s four feet away from that sign. Unless he’s from North Dakota and just moved here, he’s got to know that’s our drinking water.”

Related: Lady Gaga Accused of Wasting 356,000 Gallons of Water During California’s Drought

While there’s likely very little chance of a health risk due to a little urine, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish says flushing 38 million gallons of water away is the correct call. Some in PDX are sure to argue that the city is needlessly wasting water, but Fish is erring on the side of public health safety, noting “I didn’t have a choice. I don’t have the luxury of slicing it too thin when there’s a potential risk, however small, to public health. Frankly, it’s one of those calls where you know you’re likely to be criticized no matter what. It’s the conservative but correct call.”

Water Bureau officials aren’t sure how much it’s going to cost to dump the water, but costs will be high. Just three years ago the city ended up paying $35,000 to flush and clean another Mt. Tabor Reservoir after a 21-year-old man peed in it.

Via Oregonian and CNN

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3 Comments

  1. Charlie April 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    OK, I’m sorry, but I just don’t get this reaction to a relatively low-level threat. I am in no way ‘condoning’ the behavior described here, but let’s face it, any “drinking water reservoir” is subject to this and similar things pretty much all the time, right? Unless a reservoir is completely surrounded by impenetrable fencing, it will likely be ‘contaminated’ by one thing or another from time to time. Hopefully, the drinking water distribution system has means for filtering and/or purifying all water that ends up in people’s faucets at home or work, y’know? Oh, well…just seems we’re getting more and more paranoid about so many things these days…I’m just sayin’…

  2. Elliot Jones April 18, 2014 at 1:44 am

    So one teenager pissing into the water supply can contaminate 38 million gallons, but gallons and gallons of bird crap every day doesn’t? Can someone explain how this works?

  3. Leslea Smith April 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Charge the dumbass with the cost of the water had it been delivered… THAT would smarten the moron up right quick!

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