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. Aaron

    Another example of government arrogance. WE pay for this kind of over reaction. We can't afford to spend $35K on draining a pond. There is zero health risk and the water is treated before it gets to the kitchen sink. Stop wasting our money!!!!!

    June 16, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Not according to the article, the water in the pond is what you get at the faucet. And Leonard and them know it.

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

      Another example of government IGNORANCE...

      There, fixed that for you...

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

    Hello, Portland? If someone can get close enough to pee in the reservoir, they can get close enough to throw in poison. Or how about some LSD? Ever hear of terrorism???

    June 16, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. DYBO

    Just dump in some chlorine and forget about it. Geesh-

    June 16, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Anthony

    There have been people that drink there own pee for crying out loud.....eeeeeewa I know, but its the truth...somebody must be in need of a bonus

    June 16, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. DaCodger

    Call Carl Spackler (Bill Murray in Caddyshack). Hope they scrubbed the bottom after it is drained.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. svann

    There is no way that water is the water you drink. It has to be treated before it is sold to the public. There is a federal law called the clean water act that requires a certain level of cleanliness that could never be met with an open air reservoir.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • phatemu

      Sorry to say, it's straight to your tap from the resevoir in many cases. Good reason to treat and/or filter your water.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tobefair

    Hey, and just think. Our immune systems would be getting a workout! Btw isn't this reservoir near Vista Park? It looks familiar to me and I'd like to know...

    June 16, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. herb666

    I want to see the video

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

      What for, It doesn't show any birds washing it's feather lice in the pond.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Larry

    what a waste of money, spend 10k and put a double fence around the res. send the rest to some poor family that has a drunk for a Dad.

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

    I can't believe they let their treated drinking water sit out in the elements. That's just stupid. Maybe they should go on and invest in a sheltered top for the reservoir. Idiots.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. phatemu

    The lesson is, I think, that since 9/11, nothing has been done to secure the water supply.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • $

      Let's deficit spend to get the water supply secured.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Loren

    The people who approved this action should all be sent packing. That is one of the reasons this country is in such a financial bind. Wasting thousands of dollars on this stupidity is unnerving to say the least. Just plain pathetic. Think what good that money could have been used for instead of this nonsense!!!

    June 16, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. HolDel

    And just what do these town leaders think happens every day, multiple times, in the city's public pools? ( I am assuming they have public swimming pools).

    June 16, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Stuart

    They're replacing these reservoirs over the next couple years with underground storage tanks due to federal law anyway, has to do with 9/11. Despite the fact that Portland makes basically the lamest terrorist target ever.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      Hahaha, well said! I'm really surprised that this happened. Everytime I've been near any of the full reservoirs, there's been at least one security officer present.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. yuck

    lol... that water doesn't get any cleaner after traveling through miles and miles of pipe to your faucet.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
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