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. Lee Oates

    Gee, I guess I should comment on this silly article, since I have been blocked from commenting on any serious issue, like Libya or the middle-east by CNN. I made the serious mistake of pointing out that Libyan interest had taken over all their stories by simply deleting any opposition to Gadhafi. It seems as though its ok to make racist remarks, or hate Muslims, but not alright to express an opinion contrary to Government (Republican) interests. Americans are losing the right to speak their opinion unless it supports the radical right. America is losing its right to free speach and we are sliping backwards into another McCarthy era.

    June 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judy

      (Republican) interests? Last time I checked the President is a Democrat who has put troops in Lybia without consenting congress, which is split as far as who is in control.

      June 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThatsStupid2

      I can see why you were banned. You're a moron.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThatsStupid2

      By the way, the "McCarthy Era" was all about McCarthy's witch hunt for Communist sympathizers during the Cold War. It had nothing to do with free speech or Republicans (or Democrats). What could you possibly mean by we're slipping into another "McCarthy era?" That's as bizarre as your claim that we currently have a Republican government.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. oneLonelyVoice

    Dear Oregon,

    This little incident was actually just a test. We regret to inform you that you have failed the science proficiency exam.

    Signed, the rest of the US.

    June 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • DontDrinkTheWater

      There's a duck in the water at 0:48. Ducks and other water birds are some of the dirtiest creatures around–LOADED with parasites and bacteria. Trace amounts of Chlorine won't clear that up.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MM

    That cousin Eddy .... he shows up everywhere. Last time he was dumping the RV waste tank in the sewer in "Christmas Vacation" and said, "Hey Clark... the s***ter was full!"

    June 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. squirtle turtle

    Wow it's just amazing how you can, 1.Become famous & 2.Make a huge mess just by taking a dump in some random lake....Go FIGURE.

    June 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Department of Correction

      He took a leak, not a dump, and it wasn't a random lake, it was a man made reservoir. Plus, it's a huge stretch to say that this guy is now "famous." You'll get more out of these articles if you read the words.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. meep


    June 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. All3Allin

    What a waste. These people are morons. Cover it. Animals put their waste in this DAILY.

    June 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. palintwit

    This is what happens when you let one of the Palin family out of their cage. P-I-G-S

    June 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cobbscout

    What an incredible waste of a valuable resource (water) and financial resources when all governmental agencies are strapped for money including the Portland Water Bureau. stupid stupid stupid

    June 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. yum yum

    Well that just ruined my day.

    June 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Aeromechanic.

    This is the stupidist thing I have heard today. A guy pees in the 8 MILLION gallon resovoir and they drain it?

    What about the birds pooping in it? FOr God's sake people, it is uncovered!

    June 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 159753

    really what a waste of money! You let the toxic rain water in it, more harmful than one man peeing in the reservoir

    June 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. svann

    The guy cracks me up "Ill pay ya back, except I got no money and no job, but maybe I could do community service".

    June 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Buddy

    Why is everyone mad at the city of Portland? The guy who did this is disgusting. The reservoir is not his personal urinal. "Gee I'd love to pay for it but I don't have a job" – but he had money to go out & get a "slight buzz" on. Another one of America's best & brightest young people. Make him get a job to pay for it – preferably cleaning toilets somewhere

    June 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      You do know what bears do in the woods?

      June 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earthling

      Everyone is mad at the City of Portland because this action is COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. The level of contamination is barely measurable, and the contaminant is non-toxic. There is undoubtedly hundreds of times as much animal/bird/fish urine and feces deposited in this reservoir daily, and it's never been a problem – but one drunk pees in it and it's Chernobyl all over again? The stupidity of the officials involved boggles the mind.

      June 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ed

    I thought orange juice was made from oranges, not water....

    June 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      see frozen concentrated orange juice

      June 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ILL WILL

    Amazing!!!!...... well at least he didn't throw up in it too.l

    June 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
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