Portland, Oregon flushes water reservoir after man urinates in it

PORTLAND, Oregon Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:04pm EDT

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PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Portland, Oregon is flushing 38 million gallons (143 million liters) of drinking water down the drain because a 19-year-old man urinated in an open reservoir early on Wednesday morning, city water officials said.

Three teens were observed at the reservoir in a Portland park at about 1:00 a.m. Wednesday, Portland Water Bureau spokesman David Shaff said, and one of them was filmed urinating through an iron fence into the water.

The other two tried to climb the fence and one got into the secure area around the reservoir, but Shaff said it is not clear what he did then.

The 50-million-gallon (189-million-liter) reservoir was taken off line and was tested for possible contamination and the results will be known Thursday. But in the meantime, the city has decided to "discard" 38 million gallons of water and clean the reservoir, Shaff said.

"That water goes directly into people's homes," David Shaff, Portland Water Bureau administrator said. "There is no way to re-treat it."

The three teens were cited for trespassing and one for public urination. Additional charges could be filed as the investigation continues.

"We are not in the arid Southwest," Shaff said, "We have hundreds of millions of gallons available, so that makes it an easy call for me" to discard the water. He estimated the cost of cleaning and replacing the water at several thousand dollars.

The Federal government has mandated that Portland and all other cities cover their water reservoirs, Shaff said, and this group of Portland reservoirs will be finished by December 2015.

Shaff has not seen the police report and could not comment on motive but said alcohol may have been involved.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Eric Walsh)

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Comments (11)
DoyleSterling wrote:
Urine is sterile. I few ounces of it was diluted by 38 million gallons. What a waste.

Apr 16, 2014 10:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
shoefitter wrote:
A very stupid liberal decision. Birds and other animals expel their waste into open waters is common knowledge. Large bodies of water with sunlight ultra violate rays plus oxygenation has a purifying affect on water.

Apr 16, 2014 12:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
UncleMatt wrote:
So, the water from a reservoir that is wide open and exposed to nature feeds directly into people’s homes? In that case, one drunk and stupid teenager urinating in the water is the least of their problems. Do they believe that birds aren’t constantly defecating in this water… That insects aren’t laying eggs in this water… That micro-organisms aren’t thriving in this water… That small animals aren’t dying in this water? I know the water quality in my city is rated quite highly, yet I am glad that I at least filter it before drinking.

Apr 17, 2014 3:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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