A wee problem

Considering reservoirs, particularly open ones, are filled with fish and other animal and plant life, are likely to be the recipients of all sorts of debris, living and dead, it seems strange that a reservoir would be drained because one man was seen relieving himself in the water. But it was.

The head of the Portland Water Bureau took the decision to drain 7.8 million gallons of drinking water from an Oregon reservoir after a man urinated in it.

Joshua Seater of Molalla was spotted urinating into the Mount Tabor reservoir, which supplies drinking water to much of Portland.

While public health experts in the US said the urine in the reservoir was so diluted that it posed little health risk, the Oregon water chiefs did not want to take any chances. In addition, the cameras at the reservoir also apparently showed something, as yet unidentified, being thrown into the water.

According to Toxicologist Prof Alan Boobis, the decision to drain the reservoir was a complete overreaction. He added that, in a healthy person, urine is sterile and is not going to have any impact on anyone whatsoever. Even if chemicals were in the urine, they would not be in large enough quantities to cause damage.

The water is treated prior to entering the city’s reservoirs. It is chlorinated, but its chlorinated before the reservoirs so the water in the reservoirs is the water that people drink. The reservoir in Portland, like many in the USA, is not covered. Perhaps they should adopt the UK approach of covering sources of drinking water.

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