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 (748 Responses)
  1. Dave

    I think the idea of making orange juice with tap water is gross, no matter where you are. W.C. Fields used to refuse to drink water because fish fornicate [sic] in it.

    Did you ever look at the inside of a water main?

    The bottom line is simple: If you don't want the "yuck" factor, don't drink tap water.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • conradshull

      The bottled water mongers are SO happy they have been able to convince so many like you that this is so. But it ain't.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      I guess now they will have to drain it after a heavy rain storm with acid rain. Can you imagine making orange juice with acid rain in the water supply.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      If you want want "yuk" factor, go kill yourself. Seriously. Life is all about biological warfare. That urine was almost certainly sterile anyhow. This is the stupidest waste of $35,000 I've ever heard of.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      They always knew it was unsecure and there was no more filtration before it hit your household faucet. Didn't they .

      June 16, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. Louis

    Ummm it's a pond out in the woods with animals in it. How many times do those animals defecate in that water a day? Looks to me like a HUGE overreaction.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. conradshull

    Me and my buddies grew up sneaking into at night and swimming in our town's reservoir. It was usually the first thing we did in the late evening before riding around town in the middle of the night on our bikes.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Thirsty in South Texas

    and here we sit in one of the worst droughts we have ever had, wishing we had water, praying for rain, and they are tossing it out for no good reason.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. InHot

    Only in the "people's republic of OR"! The state is just about bankrupt, unemployment is a national leader and taxes have forced the "wealthy" to emmigrate. Greg, Dr Oxman and Mr Stone are spot on.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Really?

    Some of these comments crack me up. If the city covered this up and did nothing, and the info just happened to be made public after the fact – people would be furious. Damned if you do, damned if you don't I suppose.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I know! If they had looked the other way all these posters would be saying they didn't dooooo anythinnnnngggg!!!!! Someone needs to be fired!

      June 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. conradshull

    Reminds me of the point that there is a subtle difference between peeing in the pool and peeing into the pool.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. cnn afffiliate

    i need a new job, we cant rport on anything worthwhile

    June 16, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. canada sucks

    i pee in the pool

    June 16, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. mark n

    It's this whole "clean and pure " obssesion that this country has, like crap that we're bombarded with on TV commerecials amd advertising about soaps and floofy scents and all that "cleanliness" talk that causes people to have this stupid "yuck factor" most people on the planet are lucky to have water that is not disease ridden..... much less "yucky"..... terrible waste. look at the big picture people, that goes for all aspects of decisions we make.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. SaidWhat

    Idiots! What's a waste of tax money.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joe Q

    Portlanders need to have their consciousness raised to the benefits of shivambu.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. Student69

    *head hits desk* Seriously? Portland is one city my wife and I are considering as a new home. We have friends there and have heard what an awesome place it is. However, if this is the way the city is run, we will, sadly, look elsewhere.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • abc

      No you won't. Stop exaggerating.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Thoth-Amon

    A fact that has been completely disregarded is that the urine of a healthy individual is quite sterile. The idiot(s) who gave the order to drain the reservoir should be fired. THAT would be a better use of tax money.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff

    Reservoirs with no fences? Like banks without walls...absurd. I hope they find the offender and charge him with defacing public property. And the water authorities need fences around their properties post haste!

    June 16, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
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