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.

Post by:
Filed under: Health • Oregon • Portland
soundoff (748 Responses)
  1. Seriously

    This has come to epitomize what this country has become: to think that our species is so weak that every speck of dust threatens our health and ultimate survival. We're nuts. How the future will be grateful for our part in further contaminating the design of one of the universe's finest machines.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Leria

      Have to agree... the fact is that birds, animals (non-human), etc. probably put their waste into this water.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. mars

    well if that is "literally the water we drink" then cover the damn thing dummies. Einstein needs a replacement – STEP UP!!!!!

    June 16, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    Who is running this city? Why is the reservoir an open water source? Don't they filter their water and why is it so accessible to the public??? These people know absolutely nothing about public drinking water.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      Go visit your local water source. I can pretty much guarantee it's an open water source. Nearly all of them are.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. USArmyOverLord

    I agree with Hoosierdaddy. Were is the Common Sense?!?

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. country bean

    When you gotta go, you gotta go....

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Martin

    What a ridiculous waste of money. Do they lack that much confidence in their water purification systems?

    Think about all the stuff that goes into an open resevoir on a daily basis, this is why water is purified before it gets to your tap.

    Stupidity to the extreme in the draining of this resevoir.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. John Smith

    What?! That's impossible, you can't have a non-secure out in the open reservoir that goes directly into the taps! That... that's just crazy and stupid, they should at least put a roof over it and some kind of a net so that nothing can go in... I mean, it's just elementary, anything could go wrong!

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      Do you realize how ridiculous you sound? A roof over a resevoir! Go to your local resevoir, I can guarantee it's the same.

      This is why water is purified before it hits your tap, and why I drink bottled water.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      @Martin. You do realize that most bottled water comes from municipal water sources - i.e. the tap - with minimal processing don't you?

      June 16, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. noteabags

    Find him and give him the bill.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. Nick

    I really do believe that this is a little bit of an exaggeration. Look at all of those trees there. Birds live in trees and they have no regard where they drop their mess. I will bet hard cash that there is bird droppings in that water.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    all involved – plan stupid

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. sf

    keeping portland weird...as always

    June 16, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. K Edwards

    Mega waste of money. The guy should be fired.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. mark in arkansas

    OMG... Is this for REAL? No wonder cities and states are bankrupt. Keep something in mind folks. The water you are drinking is the SAME water you flush down the toilet. That's right... Water doesn't go anywhere, it is the ultimate recycled material. Weather it comes from a tap, a reservoir, or a pristine mountain spring... at some time in its life it probably made a trip through someone's bladder. Think about THAT when you make your OJ!!!

    June 16, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. NorthbyNorthWest

    This is so ridiculous!! Animals and Birds etc. POOP – hello salmonella, Hep A, E. coli etc. (if there is too high a concentration)! Urine is sterile! What exactly is the risk I would LOVE to hear that explanation – if you're dying in the desert or trapped during an earthquake your own urine (though not good long term) will keep you ALIVE for an extra day or two!!! JEZZ who ever made that decision needs to be FIRED!

    June 16, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mother Nature

    Have you ever swam in a lake, guess what's in there, plenty pee pee and poo poo in that water........If anything needs draining, it's the gene pool the city is using to select employees.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34