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38 million gallon flush planned after teen urination

By Steven Dubois

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:04 a.m. HST, Apr 17, 2014


PORTLAND, Ore. >> The mix of 38 million gallons of treated water and one teen's urine has proven unacceptable to Portland officials who plan to flush away the whole lot -- the second time in less than three years the city has gone to such lengths to keep its water pure.

In June 2011, the city drained a 7.5 million-gallon reservoir at Mount Tabor in southeast Portland. This time, water from a different reservoir at the same location will be discarded after a 19-year-old was videotaped in the act.

"The basic commandment of the Water Bureau is to provide clean, cold and constant water to its customers," bureau administrator David Shaff said Wednesday. "And the premise behind that is we don't have pee in it."

The open reservoirs hold water that has already been treated and goes directly into mains for distribution to customers.

The urine poses little risk -- animals routinely deposit waste without creating a public health crisis -- but Shaff said he doesn't want to serve water that was deliberately tainted.

"There is at least a perceived difference from my perspective," Shaff said. "I could be wrong on that, but the reality is our customers don't anticipate drinking water that's been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir."

Water-quality test samples have been taken from the reservoir, with the results due Thursday. The water will be drained into the sewage system, eventually reaching a treatment plant before it's dumped into the Columbia River.

In the meantime, Shaff said the city has plenty of water to meet demand.

"It's easy to replace those 38 million gallons of water," Shaff said. "We're not in the arid Southwest. We're not in drought-stricken parts of Texas or Oklahoma."

The incident occurred shortly after 1 a.m., when Water Bureau security personnel noticed three men on camera at Mount Tabor Reservoir No. 5. One was seen on video urinating through an iron fence, officials said. Minutes later, two other young men attempted to scale the fence.

The three men, whose names have not been released, were cited for trespassing and excluded from Mount Tabor Park. A 19-year-old was cited for public urination.

The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office will decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

The kidney-shaped reservoir built in 1911 is drained for cleaning each spring and fall. The spring draining was done about three weeks ago, the Water Bureau said.

The reservoir is one of five the city is in the process of replacing with underground storage to comply with federal regulations.

Floy Jones, co-founder of the group Friends of the Reservoirs, criticized the decision to drain the reservoir, saying there's no evidence any urine reached the water and it wouldn't harm anyone if it did.

"It's extremely wasteful," she said.

The man who urinated into Portland's water supply in June 2011 eventually pleaded guilty to misuse of a reservoir and was sentenced to community service.







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den wrote:
that's one big toilet.
on April 16,2014 | 04:09PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
here's what i don't understand: if you're nowhere near a toilet, why do you still have to pee in the water? It's Oregon. There are bushes, trees, and grass EVERYWHERE. Pick a spot and fertilize.
on April 16,2014 | 04:40PM
GONEGOLFIN wrote:
If you read the story over again, you'll note they are not sure it REACHED the water, which would indicate that he pee'd through a fence and it could hve drained dowin into the water.
on April 17,2014 | 05:45PM
richierich wrote:
They should sell that water to Southern California.
on April 16,2014 | 05:45PM
sailfish1 wrote:
The 19 year old deliberately urinated into the reservoir. Bill him for the 38 million gallons of water he ruined.
on April 16,2014 | 11:36PM
cojef wrote:
Waste of water where it can be purified by chemicals. Agree with "sailfish 1" regarding billing parents for the total cost, not only the quantity of wasted water but labor cost required to clean the supply. That's the only way it would cure their brat's vandalism.
on April 17,2014 | 06:00AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
He's 19...bill the SOB!
on April 17,2014 | 07:15AM
hilopango wrote:
Agree. He's an adult, he should have the responsibilities of one.
on April 17,2014 | 09:39AM
krusha wrote:
Doesn't urine contain antimicrobial compounds in them? Probably better off just throwing some clorine in the water to disinfect it. Definitely a bleachable moment. :)
on April 17,2014 | 07:02AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
The reporter couldn't resist the irony of the kidney shape.
on April 17,2014 | 07:16AM
DABLACK wrote:
Hold "stupid" and his parents "ACCOUNTABLE" for all cost replacing the water!!!
on April 17,2014 | 08:16AM
2NDC wrote:
I can only begin to imagine all of the other "goodies" in the water. I'm sure the various animal deposits are as bad if not worse than what that kid did. Toss in a bunch of chemicals, bill the kid for the materials and labor, then drive on. No need to waste all of that water. Heck, make the kid scrub out the reservoir on the next drain. A couple of days of hard labor should teach him not to do stuff like that in the future.
on April 17,2014 | 08:35AM
awahana wrote:
This kid is lucky I'm not his mayor.
on April 17,2014 | 09:56AM
awahana wrote:
Kid would be in trouble if I was in charge.
on April 17,2014 | 09:57AM
awahana wrote:
Kid would be in trouble if I was Mayor, or sheriff.
on April 17,2014 | 09:59AM
HanabataDays wrote:
"One was seen on video urinating through an iron fence, officials said. Minutes later, two other young men attempted to scale the fence." Gee, ya think if maybe they moved the fence back more than three feet from the waterline, the problem would be solved already?
on April 17,2014 | 11:05AM
copperwire9 wrote:
You think that would prevent them from climbing over the fence???
on April 17,2014 | 12:56PM
steveoctober wrote:
Pay $1000 bounty to have him drink his own medicine and have it recorded on youtube.
on April 17,2014 | 11:41AM
Ronin006 wrote:
The reservoir is open air. Birds drop in it and urinate in it. Ducks no doubt land in it and make their deposits in it. There probably is a lot more animal feces and urine deposited in the reservoir than the urine from one moron. How does Portland handle the animal stuff?
on April 17,2014 | 12:01PM
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