Portland, Oregon is flushing 38 million gallons (143 million litres) of drinking water down the drain because a 19-year-old man urinated in an open reservoir early on Wednesday morning, city water officials said.
Three teens were observed at the reservoir in a Portland park at about 1:00am on Wednesday, Portland Water Bureau spokesman David Shaff said, and one of them was filmed urinating through an iron fence into the water. The other two tried to climb the fence and one got into the secure area around the reservoir, but Shaff said it is not clear what he did then.
YouTube link. Much, much longer video.
The 50-million-gallon (189-million-litre) reservoir was taken off line and was tested for possible contamination. In the meantime, the city has decided to "discard" 38 million gallons of water and clean the reservoir. Shaff said: "That water goes directly into people's homes. There is no way to re-treat it."
The three teens were cited for trespassing and one for public urination. Additional charges could be filed as the investigation continues. "We are not in the arid Southwest," Shaff said, "We have hundreds of millions of gallons available, so that makes it an easy call for me to discard the water". He estimated the cost of cleaning and replacing the water at several thousand dollars.