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. Mr. Malvert

    Sometimes Malvert pee red.

    June 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. palintwit

    Here in the Palin household we just pee wherever we feel like it. Kitchen floor, aquarium, mattress, you name it.

    June 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • bachmanntwit

      Ha ha. They don't call you Palins trailer trash for nothing !

      June 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObamaRama

      Cool cause here in the White House we've been doing the same.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DoctorFill

    Think of all the work that needs to be done. With one simple, everyday action, one enterprising young man just created more jobs than has the entire Obama administration. Kudos to you, Mr. Wizz.

    June 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      And you're full of sh!t like a Christmas turkey.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carole Clarke

    But why did he do it? Was he drunk? He had to get over that fence first and that sounds like some kind of passive-agressive revenge going on. Too much of a coward to own up to it – afraid of the penalties? Poor little wuss. If they got a view of his face it ought to be blown up and put on TV so he can prove how brave he was...not.

    June 16, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      Theres a video attached to the story. He walked up to a fence and peed through it.

      June 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |

    Well...I like thought it was pretty cool....uh you know....um take a wiz.....thought it was like a large swimming pool full of chlorine....I'm just glad I left the toilet paper....

    June 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Prometheus

    Wow... What an over reaction. Think of the birds that 'bathe' at the water's edge. Now think of those same birds pooping after a satisfying bath. (Ever seen a 'bird bath?') Now think of the birds flying over that poop and it lands in the water. (those silly birds)

    That doesn't even BEGIN to acknowledge the other animals that poop on the land up hill nearby. That gets washed into the reservoir when it rains, along with environmental and man-made chemical contaminants. Also, animals die up that hill, and during the process of decay, so if it rains where does some of that 'soup' end up? You guessed it.

    Put that in your glass and drink it. Haha

    Sooooooo... My point is that even after they drain the water out and it refills (even if they scrub the walls of the reservoir) the above things I mentioned are STILL going to take place daily regardless.

    June 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      consider what a bear does in the woods

      June 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • standingwave

      Fish do it too.

      June 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anonymous

    Whew! So glad we were saved from roughly 0.016 parts per million of sterile urine, in a water supply that had yet to be treated, all for the small total cost of around $40,000.

    June 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rj

    Working in the waste water and water treatment design engineering field. This city/municipal employee should be fired for being stupid. 20oz in 8mgd is nothing. In other photos you can see plant floaties in the water. This does nothing except waste resources to justify his job. The plant manager wasted 38k of taxpayer money. that figure was quoted somewhere, if he wanted to make a statement he should of cleared out 100k gallons and just said by draining 100k the already diluted pee is diluted even more. How gov works, I bet he'll get promoted out of the job instead of fired and paid the same.

    June 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • rj

      People like this water manager win darwin awards.

      June 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Harry

    These people are just too stupid for words.

    June 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carole Clarke

    Perhaps a plexiglass top should be put over the resevoir to keep out birds and the sides screened to keep out wildlife and people. If we're going to all this trouble to "purify" our drinking water, why not go all the way? Give the idiot that did this the job of constructing it.

    June 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sawn

    Way overreacting. Sure, it's the ick factor, but all the bird poop, dead leaves, cats peeing uphill, etc. That's why its chlorinated!

    June 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Catmman

    Down here where I live in Texas, it has rained once since January 9th. We are entering (what we call) Stage III water restrictions (a big deal down here) as a means to conserve water.

    One guy wees in 8 MILLION GALLONS OF WATER and you guys drain the reservoir? What did you do with the water? Did you recycle it at least? I know it rains a lot where ya'll live but a bit more reasoned response for such a resource would be nice to see.

    June 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. altheajj

    One hopes that an effort is put into apprehending the 'pee-er' and fine him for the cost of draining the reservoir.

    June 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Les

    So they chlorinate the water BEFORE it goes into an open reservoir? Where birds, bugs, plants, algae, animals, airborne pollutants, rainwater, and all sorts of microorganisms have access to it before it comes out of the faucets? This is the lamest, dumbest, most absurd thing I've read recently. Except maybe Tim Pawlenty's revision of the tax code.

    June 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AJ

    I've seen that reservoir, and it had ducks swimming in it......why didn't they drain it for the duck poo?

    June 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
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