by Michael dEstries
Categories: .
Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons

The City of Portland, Oregon just drained off some 8 million gallons of its fresh water supply. Why? Because some kid decided to take a leak while hiking with some friends.

21-year-old Josh Seater was caught on surveillance camera urinating into the city’s reservoir; later telling police that he “had a pleasant buzz and I should have known better.” City officials however, freaked out and decided to flush 8 MILLION GALLONS OF DRINKING WATER down the drain.

From Forbes:

“Public health officials say, however, that urine is sterile in healthy people and that the urine in the reservoir was so diluted – perhaps a half pint in millions of gallons – that it posed little risk.”

No kidding. And this isn’t some self-contained, sealed reservoir that the kid had to open a hatch to gain access to. This is the open air variety in-the-middle-of-nature kind. You know, the one that ducks and other animals routinely enjoy, crap in, pee in, and gasp!, sometime even die in. In fact, according to David Shaff, administrator of the city water bureau, cleaners of the reservoir regularly find paint cans, construction material, fireworks, dead things, and even poop bags (from dog owners). Nevertheless, he said the “yuck” factor was the primary reason for flushing the 8 million.

“Nobody wants to drink pee, and I don’t want to deal with the 100 people who would be unhappy that I’m serving them pee in their water,” he said. And how much did the estimated two cups of pee cost the city? Nearly $30,000. Nice move, Portland.

via Forbes

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Robert

    I really hope the person that took a whiz in the drinking supply gets to serve a lot of time doing community service with waste water treatment but out of the court system.
    Even though I see this as a incredibly huge waste of water I do understand why the city officials did what they did. All it would take is one person getting upset and running this through the courts to make a big deal out of the situation. By flushing it the cost was $30k. A court battle or settlement could have easily exceeded this number. It was a strategy of the potential lesser dollar cost.
    Yes, ducks and other animals poop and pee in the same water but when a human does and gets caught on camera you better believe there are people (and the lesser forms of life, lawyers) out there crawling out of the woodwork just nibbling at the chance to make money. I think the people that made this choice did what was in the best interest of the city.

  • Chris

    Robert, you’re angry with the wrong person. You should be mad at the factory farming, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries.

    #1 It’s unethical.

    #2 They pollute an several times more than all the cars, airplanes, boats, and trains combined, in this world.

    I’d rather drink piss, than all those pollutants, chemicals, and hormones, which go up into the atmosphere and fall back into not just that reservoir, but all reservoirs.

  • Toni

    Go and drink piss then. Let’s see if you’re a happy man.

  • Azra

    Chris, I agree with you. But, still it’s unacceptable for someone to come and pee on reservoir. Just imagine you are drinking a glass of water and a douche bag comes and takes a piss on your glass. I am sure you are not only not gonna drink that water but, also you might punch the guy in the face. I am sorry but it’s the same thing with that kid peeing on the reservoir. So, not only Robert but we all should be angry with the person.

  • Farside

    How many animals such as birds, raccoons, snakes, foxes, etc. will urinate and defecate in the reservoir during a 24 hour period? The reservoir is open to the environment.

  • Sonia

    For the people that are concerned about pee in their water…

    Have you ever swam in a pool or the ocean? If you have I’m sure you’ve gotten a mouthful of some nasty sh**.

    Like Farside and Chris said, there are far worse things than pee in our water.

    8 million gallons and one guy’s pee. What morons!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Fooks/666098726 David Fooks

    I agree with the few of you who think this is absolutely ridiculous. Huge waste. Not to mention in many(if not most?) places, drinking water is more or less rainwater mixed with recycled sewage, which is then refine.

  • brandon

    perhaps they should make it impossible to get in there without a 50 ft ladder. And put mesh fence as a roof.

  • Ron

    I’m starting a national “Darwin Awards for Government People.” and call it the “It’s time to Thin the Herd” award. The first award (there will be no limit on awards that can be awarded annually) goes to the gov’t agency that thought it would be in the public interest to drain an 8 MILLION gallon reservoir, at a cost of 32 thou taxpayer bucks, because some idiot took a whiz in it. It’s time to thin the herd……

  • Brock

    I honestly find it irrelevant if a guy urinates in the water. This water is supposed to be properly filtered and cleaned beyond the point of the reservoir, anyway, so there should be no fuss about this situation. It simply goes to show mankind how stupid Americans happen to be to be more concerned with the public eye than with common sense. Terrific, especially since a dead duck is much more likely to possess a contaminant than a human’s urine. Common sense should be a class in colleges all over this coutnry. I know tons would need to take it, so why not?

  • http://akamat.wordpress.com akaMat

    I live in this city. Because there is no sun (ever) the people here I have found are…Stupidly insane. Everybody is all “Portland is such happening city. What a load of B.S. Portland is full of Hunters, Rednecks, and whatabee cool people. It goes all the way up to the Dick that pulled the Plug. I guess they figure that we get nothing but rain for 11 months of the year, that we could afford to flush the water that one man peed in and funny thing, urine is sterile. I have to get out this city. But where would I go.
    Seems all our elected Officials are all the same in all the states.