Portland flushes 38 million gallons of drinking water after man pees in reservoir

Again

Topics: Drinking Water, water safety, drought, California Drought, Portland, public urination, ,

Portland flushes 38 million gallons of drinking water after man pees in reservoirPortland City Resevoir(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A 19-year-old man was caught on camera urinating into a Portland’s Mount Tabor Reservoir system (alcohol “may have been involved”). City officials’ response: draining all 38 million gallons of the “tainted” drinking water, just to be on the safe side. From the Associated Press:

The open reservoirs hold water that’s 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 [Water Bureau Administrator David] 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.”

The man in question was cited for public urination; he and the two others he was with were also cited for trespassing.



This happened once before, in 2011 — that time, the city drained 7.5 million gallons from the same location. The offender, in that case, pleaded guilty to “misuse of a reservoir” and was sentenced to community service.

“We are not in the arid Southwest,” said Shaff, explaining his decision to flush the reservoir. “We have hundreds of millions of gallons available, so that makes it an easy call for me.” In drought-stricken California, as a note of comparison, recycled toilet water is catching on as a promising new source of drinking water.

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...