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  • 26 Jul 2014

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38 million gallon flush after teen urination

The Portland Water Bureau will be discarding roughly 38 million gallons of water after surveillance video caught a teenager urinating into a reservoir, bureau administrator David Shaff said Wednesday.

The bureau was forced to shut down Mt. Tabor Reservoir Number 5 early Wednesday morning after three people were spotted trespassing around 1 a.m. Police caught them and cited all three for trespassing and one for public urination.

Shaff said upgraded security cameras and sensors on the fences helped bureau personnel determine that a 19-year-old had urinated through an iron fence into the reservoir. Minutes later, two others, 18 and 19, tried to scale the fence, with one successfully entering the reservoir.

The massive disposal of drinking water is a precaution, Shaff said, but is a necessary response.

“Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated. We have the ability to meet that expectation while minimizing public health concerns,” said Shaff. “We will continue to provide our customers with safe, clean and cold Bull Run water.”

The Bull Run watershed, which primarily supplies Portland with the city’s drinking water, currently has an abundant supply, according to Shaff.

Floy Jones with Friends of Reservoirs said she has been policing the Water Bureau’s security efforts for years and was glad this teen was caught but also wonders how his friend made it over the fence in the first place.

“What I’d like to know is they’ve installed this equipment along the fencing that should have alerted the water bureau before anyone could ever make it over,” said Jones.

Water quality test samples from the reservoir were taken early Wednesday, with results due back Thursday.

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.