Almost 40m gallons of drinking water discarded – because a man urinated in it

Three teenagers were apprehended by police and the 50-million-gallon reservoir was taken offline for testing

Officials in Portland have decided to “discard” around 38 million gallons of drinking water after a 19-year-old man was videotaped urinating in a city reservoir.

The incident took place at around 1am local time on Wednesday when the unidentified teenager approached an iron fence surrounding the reservoir and urinated directly into it.

Three teenagers were apprehended by police and the 50-million-gallon reservoir was taken offline for testing.

Remarkably this is not the first time the water authorities in Portland have had to drain a reservoir in the area. Three years ago the city drained a 7.5-million-gallon reservoir at the same Mount Tabor location.

 

Portland Water Bureau administrator David Shaff admitted the risk to the public is low but said customers had "an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated."

Video surveillance and reports written by the Portland Police Bureau and the Portland Water Bureau will be submitted to the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges.

"It's stupid," Shaff told the Oregonian newspaper: "You can see the sign that says: 'This is your drinking water. Don't spit, throw, toss anything in it.' He's four feet away from that sign."

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