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38 million gallon Portland water supply to be flushed after teen urinates in reservoir

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PORTLAND, Ore. — The city of Portland, Ore., has been forced to dump millions of gallons of drinking water. Why?

Because someone urinated into a water reservoir.

Surprising still, this isn’t the first time this has happened.

The latest incident took place about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Cameras captured three teens near the Mount Tabor Reservoir No. 5. One of them approached the iron fence and apparently got close enough to relieve himself directly into the reservoir.

The three teens were apprehended and the 50 million-gallon reservoir was taken offline for testing.

Thanks to the teens, the Portland Water Bureau will have to dump 38 million gallons of drinking water, administrator David Shaff said.

“Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated,” he said.

All three teens received citations for trespassing; one was cited for public urination.

Shaff told the Oregonian newspaper that the teen knew exactly what he was doing.

“It’s stupid,” Shaff told the newspaper. “You can see the sign that says: ‘This is your drinking water. Don’t spit, throw, toss anything in it.’ He’s 4 feet away from that sign.”

Shaff was also the administrator when a similar incident took place in June 2011. Surveillance cameras caught a man urinating into an 8 million gallon reservoir.

Fish later told the Oregonian that draining the reservoir is the right thing to do.

“I didn’t have a choice. I don’t have the luxury of slicing it too thin when there’s a potential risk, however small, to public health,” he said. “Frankly, it’s one of those calls where you know you’re likely to be criticized no matter what. The professionals who report to me all said, ‘Dump the water. Don’t take any chances.’ It’s the conservative but correct call.”

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  • Erika Winfrey

    i agree it’s very up setting that people think they can just do what ever they want knowingly risking other peoples health… very unfortunate he should be getting more than a citation.. maybe place him in the clean up crew…

    • Tom Beaman

      Do you swim in a public pool or lake or the ocean? Guess what….

      As distasteful as this man’s actions were (pardon the pun), the response was so beyond common sense, it cannot be calculated. Nor could the urine be detected in any water test, PERIOD!

  • Sam Shaffer

    such a waste!!!… so ridiculous. What?!!… like nothing else can get in there on its own?!… it’s an uncovered reservoir! We’re talking probably 10-12 oz of urine … liberal stupidity at work here.

  • Christopher Rant (@ChristopherRant)

    No one who thinks more governmental administrative law is going to help anyone doing anything can read this article and keep their position. Portland, if you had a water distribution and fluoridation system, you wouldn’t be pissing away water (term used deliberately) when 200 miles south of you there is a major drought. Apparently, Portlandia is more documentary than skit.

    • Richard Stiles

      Fluoride is rat poison. The toothpaste says call poison control if swallowed. The Nazis fluoridated the water in their concentration camps. In the dosage we are given it, the cheif effect is stupidity and unquestioning obedience. That’s what the establishment wants. They don’t care about your teeth. Fluoride actually causes ostioperosis and fluorosis of the teeth. Some people have dentures. Does fluoride strengthen dentures too? Next time you’re near a box of rat poison, read the ingredients. It’s sodium fluoride.

      • Richard Lepsy

        it was invented by the Jews at the behest of the Pope to weaken mankind for the Martian invasion! In the mean time only people with tin foil hats can know the truth because the NSA can’t get into their minds and make them want to brush their teeth. Thank You so much brother for exposing these miscreants to the world!! Long live Garlaxitania!

  • Jeff Rayburn

    There is no drought 200 miles south of Portland. I live almost 200 miles south of Portland. I don’t feel like doing the math, but I am wondering how much cubic area 38 million gallons takes up?

    • Joseph Killeen

      From what I can tell, it’s a volume measuring about 172 cubed, or 750 x 750 x 9 feet deep…it’s kind of a lot…just thinking about it creates an urge to go…

  • Kelly Higginbotham

    Actually, the water dept. is at fault in this case. How about if a rat jumped in and drowned, we would never know why someone died. Kids will be kids, and though still accountable, they are still going to do stupid things. Now consider a more sinister agenda, who’s fault will it be if a terrorist walks up and dumps some cyanide into the water,…of camera….?

    The water need to upgrade restricted access, get real people.

  • youresonotthebossofme2012

    How about putting the fence further away? Seems it was awfully easy for them to gain access to the reservoir. If three teenage boys could get close enough to pee in it, then what’s to stop someone else from getting close enough to do something a whole lot worse? Just sayin’…

  • Snarky Cosmos

    More stupidity at its worst; not by the slacker teens; but by the Gummint bureaucrats who fail to realize that birds and other wildlife probably dump more biological waste into the reservoir than any human taking a leak ever will. That’s why the taxpayers spend millions building water treatment plants in the first place.

    The USA has become a nation of pantywaists.

  • Robert Gift

    Ridiculous to drain 38 million gallons due to 700 CCs of urine.
    What about birds flying over the reservoir?
    Cannot believe that anyone has “potable” water stored OUTSIDE.

    What is the value of the water?
    Make him pay for it.

    • Snarky Cosmos

      Fine the kid for trespassing; but smack the Gummint bureaucrat who thinks 38-million gallons of water needs to be dumped over less than a liter of whiz.

      Good grief, when did human waste become different from seagull and pigeon waste?

      As for storing potable water outside…DUH, the vast majority of it is due to the quantity of water involved. That’s why they are called reservoirs, and the USA has water treatment plants to make our water drinkable.

      • Snarky Cosmos

        As I understand it, water is filtered prior to being introduced into the distribution system. Doing complete filtration on outdoor stored water is pointless due to the numerous chances of contamination. Filter it before it’s delivered to the customer.

  • Robert Gift

    ^ That is what is so strange.
    I believe their water is treated, (filtered in several stages and finally chlorinated) then stored outside.
    Then the stored treated water is filtered as it is being pulled into the system and pumped into the distribution system.

  • Terry Schurr

    Whom ever is in charge of the water supply needs fired, not for the kid pissing in it but for the idea that 38 million gallons of water needs flushed…..what an idiot! And anyone that thinks dumping that much water is the right thing to do is a numbskull. Who do you think is gonna pay for it, not the kid or his family, but YOU are.

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