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. Loud_Noizes

    I would understand if the guy went number 2, but urine? Isn't it sterile? Couldn't they turn the water into gray water for toilets? That is a huge waste. Especially since everyone and their mother uses brita filters these days.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leria

      I wouldn't understand even then.... remember, you have birds, other mammals, etc. pooping and peeing in this water.... what's with a little human excrement.

      June 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. unowhoitsme

    Needs to be in the Guiness World Book of Records....world's most expensive pee! Courtesy of Portland's Water Bureau. Your tax dollars at work!

    June 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. unowhoitsme

    Mommy, why is my orange juice so bright?

    Sweety, it just has extra minerals in it.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. piper25x

    The real question is why is the water in Portland able to be contaminated. Urine is not the only thing that could be placed into that water, and if a man can just pee into it, I think it should be more protected

    June 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. unowhoitsme

    That amounts to 1 drop in 13,333 eight oz. glasses of water! Insane! So are you saying that your water treatment plant can't handle this very minor polutant? You should be fired!

    June 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. unowhoitsme

    How much pee does it take for a bureaucrat to spend $35,000? One drop in 833 gallons!

    June 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Happyjeri

    Why waste tax dollars on something so little, can some bleach type substance kill that germ? At least lower Oregon gas prices to $3 a gallon to make up for a waste of tax dollars.

    June 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ketrout

    This is totally over reacting and a very stupid move to drain the water. How many kids are peeing in public pools?

    There is a lack of common sense and a cost the taxpayers need not have to pay.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe Ryfan

    Since they have the guy on camera, why not arrest him, charge him with vandalism, and fine him the whole cost plus penalties?

    June 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Neil

    If you're going to pee in the pool, don't do it from the high diving board.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    If the picture is their drinking water, what is to stop any pollutant from getting into the water? Wouldn't the city need to run the water through another filtering process before it is sent to the public? Water is such a precious resource. The city needs to get some tips from NASA and learn how to take pee water and turn it into drinking water.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gena Cameron

    This is crazy and a total waste of tax dollars. Do we have money to waste. These officials who made this decision should be removed from jobs/offices. Waste, waste, waste.

    June 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. superdave

    I'm sure the man was arrested and has to pay the city back right?? If not i'm sure it's just another case of government spending money on nothing.

    June 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. superdave

    They can afford surveillance but not a fence???

    June 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. superdave

    They better not throw that water away

    June 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
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