Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Portland drains reservoir of 8 million gallons of treated water after 21-year-old, captured on video, drains bladder in wee hours of the morning

Portland, Oregon has spent about $35,000 to drain a reservoir of treated water after one Joshua Seater, 21, was caught urinating in the water at 1:30 in the morning last Wednesday.

Did "Yuck Factor" trump science?

Although Portland Health Officials disagreed on the need to drain the water, David Shaff, of the Portland Water Bureau, said, "I think what you have to deal with here is the 'yuck' factor," he said.

"Do you want to drink pee? Most people are going to be pretty damn squeamish."

Dave Stone
Dave Stone, an assistant professor in toxicology at Oregon State University who specializes in chemical contaminants in water, noted that urine "is pretty sterile, chemically speaking."
"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."

But Chris Wanner, director of operations for the Water Bureau, said he was worried -- though less about the urine than about unknown items thrown into the water by a group of five people who hung around Mount Tabor early Wednesday.

Even so, Portland's five open reservoirs are susceptible to dead rodents, birds or bird poop. Water quality is tested, but reservoirs aren't drained because of dead animals.

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