Portland dumps 38m gallons of water after urination

The Mount Tabor number 1 reservoir in Portland, Oregon 20 June 2011 It is the second time in three years Portland's Mt Tabor reservoir has been drained

Related Stories

The US city of Portland, Oregon, is dumping 38m gallons (143m litres) of water from its reservoir after a teenager was caught urinating into the water supply.

CCTV footage of the Mt Tabor reservoir captured the man urinating and two others attempting to scale the reservoir's fence.

Portland water administrator David Shaff said the health risk was small.

But he said the agency would not serve "deliberately contaminated" water.

Start Quote

The reality is our customers don't anticipate drinking water that's been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir”

End Quote David Shaff Portland Water Bureau Administrator

Upon learning of the contamination on Wednesday, officials immediately removed the affected reservoir from service and took water quality test samples.

The water will be replaced with fresh water from the city's Bull Run supply.

Portland emptied 7.5 million gallons of water from the same reservoir in 2011 after a man urinated into it.

On Wednesday, Mr Shaff said while animal waste often found its way into the reservoir without any public health risk, there was "at least a perceived difference from my perspective" on human waste.

"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," he said.

He said the city had plenty of water to meet demand and that replacing the 38 million gallons would be "easy".

"We're not in the arid South-west. We're not in drought-stricken parts of Texas or Oklahoma."

But Floy Jones, co-founder of the group Friends of the Reservoirs, criticised the decision, saying if urine reached the water, it would not harm anyone.

"It's extremely wasteful," she said.

Three men ages 18 and 19 were cited for trespassing. One of the 19-year-olds was cited for public urination. Prosecutors are deciding whether to charge any of the three with a crime.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

  • A very clever little girlBrain gain

    Why are people getting better at intelligence tests?

  • Don Roberto Placa Quiet Don

    The world's worst interview - with one of the loneliest men on Earth

  • Welsh society plaqueDistant valley

    How St David's Day is marked in one community far from Wales

  • BeefaloBeefalo hunt

    The hybrid animal causing havoc in the Grand Canyon

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • KnucklesGood or bad?

    For many it can be very satisfying to 'crack' the bones in your hand, but is it bad for you?


  • BatteriesClick Watch

    More power to your phone - the lithium-ion batteries that could last twice as long

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.