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Portland Wastes 8M Gallons Of Fresh Water

From a gently chiding Associated Press:

Man urinates in water, city flushes 8M gallons

By Tim Fought, Associated Press – Mon Jun 20, 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. – Call it the big flush.

Because a 21-year-old man was caught on a security camera urinating into a city reservoir, Oregon’s biggest city is sending 8 million gallons of treated drinking water down the drain.

Portland officials defended the decision Monday, saying they didn’t want to send city residents water laced, however infinitesimally, with urine.

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.

Some people in the city, in the suburbs and around the world called the flush an overreaction, especially since animals such as ducks contribute waste routinely and, sometimes, die in the water

W.C. Fields once explained that he never drank water, "because of the disgusting things that fish do in it."

Water from the city’s five open air reservoirs, all in parks, goes directly to customers. The reservoirs are due to be replaced by underground storage within a decade, a result of federal requirements.

The reservoirs distribute water that flows from glaciers on Mount Hood. It is treated before it goes to the reservoirs for distribution, and then goes directly to consumers.

The reservoirs are drained twice a year for cleaning, and workers have found animal carcasses, paint cans, construction material, fireworks debris and even the plastic bags people use to scoop up after their dogs, said David Shaff, administrator of the city water bureau.

Even so, Shaff said, the yuck factor was the primary reason for the decision to drain the 8 million gallons, at a cost of less than $8,000 to treat it as sewage.

"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. Shaff said the security cameras also showed something that’s still unidentified was thrown in the water, heightening concern about potential risks.

And if none of this had been caught on camera, nobody would have been the wiser.

City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who is in charge of the water bureau, defended the decision, citing a potential public health risk. He said he worried about the possibility of chlamydia or AIDS from blood in urine. "I’m for taking the most conservative approach," he said.

Such preposterously uninformed people should not be in positions of power.

Dr. Gary Oxman, the county health officer, said the risk was so close to nil that it falls in the "never say never" range. Even with the uncertainty over an object thrown in the water, "that’s still a very small risk," he said.

The young man, Josh Seater, told KATU-TV he’d been drinking, was with friends and thought that the reservoir was a sewage treatment plant. He said he felt guilty instantly, and then security guards arrived. "I knew I did wrong when I did it," he told the station.

If he thought it was a sewage treatment plant, why would he know he had done wrong? By the way, why not ask Mr. Seater what was thrown into the reservoir?

In addition to the sewage charge, Shaff said, the flushed water is worth $28,000.

That seems to be a pretty low price for eight million gallons of water. Perhaps the officials are low-balling the cost to try to protect their jobs.

The Mount Hood watershed that supplies the city is brimming this spring, with 8 million gallons flowing through it about every half hour…

So it was a half hour’s worth of water?

In any case, just bear in mind that all too soon bureaucrats like these in Portland will be flushing away your healthcare dollars with decisions like these. Then we will see some real waste.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Portland Wastes 8M Gallons Of Fresh Water”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    It’s not like this drunk rascal defecated on the dinner table. Steve posed a great line when he asked if the camera had not caught the perp, would anyone be the wiser? Talk about going overboard.

  2. preparing4theworst says:

    So, did they flush it directly into the river…all this RAW sewage and did they take into account the decreasing salinity levels of the Pacific when it got there??….come on, these are OPEN AIR reservoirs!!!! As we read these articles we must try to remember that the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

  3. Not so fast says:

    What did Forrest Gump have to say after drinking all of those Dr. Peppers in the White House?

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