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. Motoman

    Most tap water has microscopic pieces of toilet paper in it. Take a look. I fail to see the difference a little urine will make.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • RG

      Interesting..... I noticed I was using less toilet paper at home. Maybe they should patent this water as "self-cleaning"

      June 16, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan Gilbert

      Yeah, urine is sterile when it comes out. I thought they filtered water before it hit the tap.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bob in Pa

    Really ?

    June 16, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. mattspohn

    Portland residents should be outraged by this needless spending of taxpayers dollars....I used to live in Mt Tabor and would watch rodents , ducks, birds use the water for all of their bodily needs....really, the yuck factor is listening to the stupidity of the reasoning behind this expense!

    June 16, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • geoz

      you got that right.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. fred

    Urine is normally sterile. Unlike the poop from the birds. I highly doubt that the water is not further treated because there is no way to guarentee the safety of a sitting pool of open water.

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

    I guess it would be too late to explain to them that urine is sanitary

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

      Most is. No guarantee his is.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. RG

    How could it possibly cost $7500 to dispose of water?

    June 16, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. tim

    That would still be a lot of LSD to dose the whole water supply, and it's constantly getting diluted. I doubt that much actual LSD even exists anymore. But what a bunch of hippies. It's like 2 cups in 8 million gallons, so 15.625 ppm, and THEN it gets filtered and purified. What kind of morons think what is sitting in that pool of a reservoir is exactly what they are getting to the faucet? I'm sure plenty of birds fly overhead and poop in it.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Freshies

      It still exists. In Kansas like 5 years ago they caught this farmer with enought to dose everyone in the world 5 times.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jay

    I agree the water bureau is definately wasting alot of money. But I don't understand why an adult was compelled to urinate in a place that obviously looked like they shouldn't. There were trees and bushes clearly shown in the video that the person could have urinated on.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • RG

      I'd guess seeing all that water made him have to go.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • paul321

      Probably, being an educated person with a scientific background he could see absolutely no possible harm that could be caused by his actions. Being politically naive he didnt realise that his actions would be observed by a bunch of uneducated hyper emotional numbskulls who would overreact at nothing.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. GodDOES

    The person who urinated should be billed for this entire cost. And if he can't pay, he should serve 70 years in jail for being an idiot.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chris

    Heck, if they think that's bad, wait until they hear what the fish are doing in it!

    June 16, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jen

    sounds to me like someone needs some pocket money in the sanitation dept.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. AlienShark

    the world's biggest flush

    June 16, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Lou

    In the old days people would wash their body (including face) with their urine as a natural remedy.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Saboth

    That's pretty ridiculous. As said above, birds and animals are probably constantly pooping/peeing in it, and bugs are swimming around in it.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. paul321

    What a bunch of complete morons!

    June 16, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
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