THURSDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — It might seem silly to drain 38 million gallons of otherwise good water just because one stupid kid peed in it, but that’s what the City of Portland is doing.
A 19-year-old was videotaped in the act Wednesday, so out goes the water. It’s the second time the reservoir has had to be drained.
Health officials say a bit of urine in the water won’t likely hurt anybody but it’s the thought that counts.
“There is at least a perceived difference from my perspective,” Water Bureacu administrator David Shaff said of the fact that animals often go pee-pee or doo-doo in water supplies. “I could be wrong on that, but the reality is our customers don’t anticipate drinking water that’s been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir.”
He’s certainly right about that. Peeing into a reservoir is just rude. So, the water will be drained into a sewage system and from there into the Columbia River. By the time it gets to the next water system it should be thinned out pretty good.
A few pointers can be taken from this. Build reservoirs with covers instead of wrought-iron fences (this particular one is more than 100 years old). Meanwhile, put up signs that say, “Peeing in reservoir prohibited.”
Just so you know, animals and people pee in our Kamloops water supply — the Thompson River system — all the time. The difference is that the water in the Portland reservoir had already gone through treatment, whereas our water is treated after.
In the Kamloops system, water is taken into the treatment plant and filtered with state-of-the-art technology as well as chlorinated. We have reservoirs, but they’re capped. Nobody is going to pee in our water after it’s treated.
And, just so you know, the kid who peed in the Portland reservoir has been banned from the park in which the reservoir is located, and charged with public urination. That’ll fix him.