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Urine-tinged Oregon water diverted to another reservoir

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:33 p.m. HST, Apr 30, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. » The city of Portland has decided not to flush millions of gallons of drinking water that might have been tainted by a teenager who urinated at a reservoir.

However, the water still won't be going to customers' taps.

Instead, about 35 million gallons have been diverted from kidney-shaped Reservoir 5 to an empty reservoir to determine how long its quality can last as a public water feature.

Officials had planned to drain the water from Reservoir 5 into the sewer system after authorities said Dallas Swonger, 19, was caught on camera two weeks ago appearing to urinate into it. Test results from the day after the incident found the water was safe to drink.

It was the second time in less than three years the city has emptied a Mount Tabor reservoir due to concerns that someone had urinated in the water.

Reservoir 5 was built in 1911 and is one of five the city is in the process of replacing with underground storage to comply with federal regulations.

Some neighborhood residents, for aesthetic reasons, don't want to see empty reservoirs at Mount Tabor, so officials decided to find out what happens when uncirculated water is left in one.

After learning of the urination incident, officials began dumping water into the sewer system but the process was slowed by heavy rains. As a result they diverted the water to the empty Reservoir 6.

"We're going to be monitoring it and see how long it stays fresh and clear," Portland Water Bureau spokeswoman Jaymee Cuti said.

After diverting the water, the city finished refilling Reservoir 5 on Saturday and the water is going to customers.

Swonger was cited for public urination and trespassing. He told KATU-TV he urinated against a wall, not into the water.

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