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. AGeek

    What about the birds that crap in it every day of the week?! Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • AL

      How about finding the person who did it and charge him for the cost to the city.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. bob1x

    Wow! Some Muslim could pee over the state of Texas from a plane and shut it down for weeks. I am afraid.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tony Atlas

    Idiocracy has come true.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chop

    I would not drink the water after it is refilled. Anybody could tamper with this water supply.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Paul B

    Really? Birds POOP in that water all day long.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. wreames

    don't they treat the water before piping it to homes? even if they don't, big deal! if they want to spend the money that bad and make people feel better about themselves, send the $$ to a clean water organization that helps people in developing countries that really know what its like to drink dirty water.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Emily

    If the water isn't going to be cleaned again before drinking, maybe they should make it so people can't get close enough to pee in it.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. ladycam

    My concern would not be urine, but since the reservoir has such easy acess what else will someone attempt to put in that can be harmful or even deadly.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. John Tarter

    And now the terrorists know how to shut down Oregon.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. bittramp

    This is a ridiculous waste of resources. Somebody over reacted and now it's costing the city money. Do they stop birds from crapping in that? Of course not. Whoever made the decision to drain it should be fired.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tony Atlas

    "The water that's in the reservoir that you see is literally the water that you drink,"

    The water in my well is literally the water that I drink too. Bears and whatnot probably pee right on top of it! Numbskull

    June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tracie

    Is anyone really looking at this video? Unless this guy can pee in a 20 foot stream, my guess is that it never made it to the water.. .... LOOK AGAIN.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. OutOfContext

    I don't know what the problem is ... I drink pee all the time. It's not a problem.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. Holly Grant

    And how much bird poop is in there? And squirrel poop?

    June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Maria:
    We make pitchers of tea outside with sunlight because it's fun, then brag that we saved energy.
    I never knew about any birds' urinating in it.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
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