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Portland, Ore. officials have been forced to drain a reservoir after surveillance video captured images of a man urinating in it. In total, around 38 million gallons of drinking water will be “discarded” as a result.
Portland Water Bureau administrator David Shaff said that video captured a 19-year-old urinating into Mt. Tabor Reservoir Number 5, reports KGW. Two other men, aged 18 and 19, also tried to scale the fence and one managed to do so.
Bureau spokeswoman Jaymee Cuti said that a Portland Police Bureau officer and ranger were on the scene quickly. “These actions forced the water bureau to immediately take the 50-million gallon Mt. Tabor Reservoir 5 off-line and test for possible contamination,” she explained.
The three were all charged with trespassing and the man who urinated was also charged with public urination. Police are still investigating to see if more charges are necessary.
“Even though there is very minimal public health risk, the bottom line is that our commitment is to serve water that’s clean, cold and constant,” Shaff explained, notes Oregon Live. “That doesn’t include pee. Not from people, at least.”
Shaff told Oregon Live that the video clearly illustrates what the man was doing. “When you see the video, he’s leaning right up because he has to get his little wee wee right up to the iron bars,” Shaff said. “There’s really no doubt what he’s doing.”
Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish later told Oregon Live that the decision to flush the reservoir was the right one, despite some complaints that officials overreacted. Even if the potential danger was minuscule, it was “the conservative but correct call,” he said.