Millions of Gallons Flushed After One Guy Pees in Reservoir

Guy Pees in Reservoir This is a case of you're either damned if you do or damned if you don't: A Portland (Ore.) Water District administrator decided to drain 7.8 million gallons of water from a reservoir, after learning that someone had urinated in it. His only other option was to let that water flow into the glasses, bottles and ice cube makers of local residents.

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"The consensus appears to be that I am an idiot," said Portland Water Bureau administrator David Shaff in an email to The Oregonian. "But I honestly think it would be the same consensus if I had decided that it was fine and we should keep serving (the water)."

It seems authorities were alerted of the pollution to the drinking water source when five people and a dog were observed hanging around the reservoir. They were reportedly throwing unidentified objects into the water, and at one point, one of them was seen by a surveillance camera using the reservoir as a urinal.

Granted, one person's urine is likely not a health threat when mixed with 7.8 million gallons of water, but when word of the incident got out, the public "yuck factor," was extremely high. The flushing was reported to have been done at minimal expense, and Oregon doesn't have the fresh water shortage that states like California, Nevada and Arizona have.

Still, 7.9 million gallons of water down the drain is a staggering amount. What do you think the administrator should have done?

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell


Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on

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it really is sad we have administrators like this water boy making decisions. not 1 bit of common sense on the part of the water district.....

June 20 2011 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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