Portland draining reservoir after man urinates in it
Portland, Oregon's Mount Tabor reservoir holds 8 million gallons of drinking water.
June 16th, 2011
08:58 AM ET

Portland draining reservoir after man urinates in it

Oregon's Portland Water Bureau is draining an 8 million-gallon reservoir after surveillance cameras caught a man urinating into it this week.

The move will cost the water bureau $35,000 $28,000 in lost revenue and $7,500 in disposal costs, CNN affiliate KATU-TV reports.

Is that worth it when the urine involved is really a drop in the bucket?

Scientifically, no, said Dave Stone, an assistant professor of toxicology at Oregon State University, who spoke to The Oregonian newspaper about the, er, leak.

"How many animals are doing that or birds?" Stone asked. "I don't want to second-guess the city, but I can't think of anything chemically that would have me be concerned."

Dr. Gary Oxman, a Multnomah County health officer, also told The Oregonian: "The health risk associated with that is really, really tiny."

A healthy bladder holds up to 16 ounces of urine, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Water bureau administrator David Shaff told KATU it's not about the science.

"There are people who will say it’s an overreaction,” he said. “I don’t think so. I think just dealing with the ‘yuck factor,’ I can imagine how many people would be saying, ‘I made orange juice with that water this morning. That’s not what I want to hear.’ ”

And City Commissioner Randy Leonard told CNN affiliate KGW-TV that the water in the Mount Tabor reservoir is chlorinated before it enters the reservoir.

"The water that's in the reservoir that you see is literally the water that you drink," Leonard said.

Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau told KGW the whole mess didn't have to be.

"It's really an unfortunate incident that probably could have been avoided had he chosen a bush," Simpson said.

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Filed under: Health • Oregon • Portland
soundoff (743 Responses)
  1. anoledihard

    WHAT'S WRONG WITH PICTURE? There's worse crap in water than a few dead body cells. Is there no end to how wasteful a city can be with money that isn't their's to waste? Factories have put worse stuff in our air, but no one is complaining very loudly to shut them down. Oh they after the smoker who's smoke is nothing compared to these factories garbage, but then it's easy to go after a smoker and blame them for all the causes of cancer. Even when people know that's a lie.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Xerxes 2011

    That is such a beautiful looking container for drinking water, more like a cess pool!

    July 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. AmerFrog

    Oregon sucks.

    July 7, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. john bond

    If it was anywhere but Oregon I would say the dumping the water was a waist. But Oregon is probably the most water abundant place in America, That reservoir would fill back up with rain in a month or two. So personally I say go ahead, it's unsanitary to be showering with water someone urinated in.
    John Bond | http://www.apcnorfolk.org/?t=services

    January 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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