Portland Reservoir Gets Drained After Man Urinates In It

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Reservoir at Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon.

Think back to your summer camp days: remember how annoying it was to evacuate the swimming pool when a kid had an accident?  Turns out a similar thing happened in an Oregon reservoir this week.

The Portland Water Bureau got pretty pissed off when cameras caught 21-year-old Josh Seater from Molalla, Oregon, urinating in a reservoir in Mount Tabor Park at about 1:30 am Wednesday morning.  The Bureau spent about $36,000 to drain the 7.8 million-gallon open reservoir, a major water source for the city’s residents.

David Shaff, administrator of the Portland Water Bureau, argued that the draining was justified because the thought of someone whizzing in the water would make residents stop drinking tap water.

Yesterday, KATU followed-up with the culprit, who apologized.  He said he was drunk, and he didn’t realize that he was peeing in a water supply because it was so dark outside:  “I thought it was a sewage plant.”

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But fortunately for Portlanders, urine is pretty much chemically sterile, Dave Stone, assistant professor of Toxicology at Oregon State University, told The Oregonian.

“It’s inappropriate behavior. But how many animals are doing that or birds?” he said. “I don’t want to second-guess the city, but I can’t think of anything chemically that would have me be concerned.”

Dr. Gary Oxman, the Multnomah County health officer who advises the city on infectious disease issues, also explained to the The Oregonian that the typical bladder holds a mere 6-8 ounces of water, which should quickly dilute in the reservoir and pose negligible health risks. That news should relieve Portland residents.

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