Teen's Urine Ruins 38M Gallons of Portland's Water

19-year-old cited for public urination
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2014 12:20 AM CDT
Updated Apr 17, 2014 7:35 AM CDT
Teen's Urine Ruins 38M Gallons of Portland's Water
This spot at the Mt Tabor number 1 reservoir is where a 21-year-old man was seen on surveillance video urinating into the reservoir in 2011.   (AP Photo/Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian)

Rest assured, Portland, Oregon: The water you drink is very, very clean. How sanitary? This sanitary: Water Bureau administrators are willing to flush 38 million gallons of the stuff and clean the open-air reservoir in order to make sure there's not the most miniscule amount of human urine in it. The Oregonian reports that a 19-year-old man peed in Mt. Tabor Reservoir 5, which supplies the city with drinking water, around 1am yesterday. He was caught on surveillance video leaning against a fence in order to "get his little wee wee right up to the iron bars," said Water Bureau administrator David Shaff; the man then pulled up his pants seconds later.

That was apparently enough of a leak for the city to step in. "Even though there is very minimal public health risk, the bottom line is that our commitment is to serve water that’s clean, cold, and constant. That doesn’t include pee. Not from people, at least," said Shaff, who acknowledges that animals routinely urinate, or worse, in the water. Also caught on video: The man and his cohorts took selfies at the scene. The group of three was later stopped by officers and given trespassing citations along with, in the case of the pee-er, a public urination citation. The pipes to the reservoir, which holds treated water, were then immediately closed, and the water was tested; the results, due today, aren't expected to show any contamination. The AP notes the water will be drained into the sewage system that eventually dumps into the Columbia River. The same thing happened in 2011 at the Mt. Tabor site; in that case, 7.8 million gallons were flushed, at a cost of $35,000. (More Oregon stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.