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. Marc L from NY

    So the city thinks that ickyness, which is a mental obstacle, is worth all of that money? They must be the only municipality in the Country that isn't facing tough economical times.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Erik in Houston

    Simply idiotic to drain the water. Treat it, which they would anyhow. Fine the urinator with all costs.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sandy

    Only in Oregon...let me clarify, only in PORTLAND, Oregon.........idiots, you can drink your pee....it's sterile, you idiots!!!!!

    June 16, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • BoFo

      So, too, is your brain.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • deathwombat

      That's true of healthy urine, but there's no way of knowing if this person was healthy. At any rate, there's a (psychological) difference between drinking your own urine and drinking someone else's.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      I'll send you a bottle of my pee. Enjoy it!

      June 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lauren

    Wait, how do you make orange juice from water? I thought it was supposed to be made from oranges.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • LB

      Its Portland.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • BoFo

      Hello! Lauren? Come back from the stratosphere. Some orange juice is made from concentrate, which requires water. I think that's what he meant.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Did you ever hear of

      orange juice concentrate?

      June 16, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    ("The water that's in the reservoir that you see is literally the water that you drink," Leonard said.) So, the city does not filter, or do anything to the water before it enters the water system? I don't see any cover, so what keeps frogs, bugs, snakes, ducks, geese, etc out. What a waste of money.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • svann

      Im sure that cant be. It would be a violation of the clean water act which is federal law.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Iosias of Washington DC

    Duh. spending at least $33,000 of the taxpayers' money and wasting 8 million gallons of water because of the 'yuck factor'??? This is beyond idiotic; this is irresponsible and even criminal. If I were in Portland, I'd be furious.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • deathwombat

      $33,000 isn't even a dollar a person. Governments waste way more money than that every day.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • sumday

      "If I were in Portland, I'd be furious."- maybe so but there would still be nothing you could do but post comments on CNN. We may all get upset over news stories but at the end of the day we are all just rats in cages posting comments.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Matt S.

    This is criminally wasteful. 35,000 would go a long way to feed portlands hungry..........

    June 16, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. boola

    You can't blame him- it was called reservoir #1

    June 16, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. ELH

    "I never drink water, fish fornicate in it." W. C. Fields

    June 16, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. pianoman Drex

    Speechless on this topic maybe something else is in the water. Hmmmmmm unsolved mystery hmmmmmmm

    June 16, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. McCarthy

    Urine is sterile. This is beyond stupid.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Monica

    Sure...you can drink MY pee...but I don't want to drink YOURS! Just the thought of someone's HIV (I know, it's sterile) is enough for me to 'pass' on that water.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jade

    How incredibly stupid. If I was a tax payer I'd be livid.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      You aren't a taxpayer? How'd you do that?

      June 16, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • barabbas2010

      Monica . . it's easy . . he's rich . . they don't pay taxes

      June 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bethany

    If I were a resident of this area I would rather they spend the money on better security for the water supply. What if it had been something more harmful than urine that the guy put in there?

    June 16, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Amerimonger

    I think they should bottle the water and sell it as French water and charger more money for it and maybe they could make a profit!

    June 16, 2011 at 10:44 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