back to article Bloke pissing in reservoir prompts 8m gallon flush

A young man who relieved himself in a Portland reservoir prompted the local water authority to flush 7.8 million gallons of drinking water down the toilet. The 21-year-old was spotted by officials in the early hours of last Wednesday walking with four chums close to the Mount Tabor H2O repository. While some of his pals "threw …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    LOl WTF

    Im sure animals will have peed in there at some point....

    What's the difference?

    Why dump it all?

  2. Tom_

    birds and fish

    And little tiny mammals.

  3. Jelliphiish

    taking the..

    no, i couldn't complete it.. that degree of pun should be punishable by something apt...

    I wonder what the homeopaths make of all this.. that level of dilution should make it a Very Potent Potion..

    mines the one with the flower remedy disolved in brandy in the pocket..

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Water? Thats just taking the piss

    Dont they have a system to filter and clean the water?

    What do they do about all the animals peeing in the water, not to mention dying, laying eggs etc.

    And, sod the urine, what about all the rubbish people can throw in there....

    Does this mean that they treat the water in the reservoir as drinking water without any further treatment?

    (mines the one with the bottle of Evian in the pocket..)

  5. Piro

    An open resevoir?

    Then anything could have pissed in it. I read there were dead animals in it, too.

    I'd rather drink water with a tiny concentration of piss than water that had been filtered through rotting corpses.

    A knee-jerk reaction, but I guess I understand it from a PR point of view.

    1. Liam Johnson

      Very Potent Potion

      No, no, you have it all wrong. it is not the dilution which makes it potent - it is all the shaking in between - apparently.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Very Potent Potion

        "No, no, you have it all wrong. it is not the dilution which makes it potent - it is all the shaking in between - apparently."

        And not the shaking immediately after? Still, an opportunity to sell a lifetime's supply of potions to homeopaths is wasted.

    2. ArmanX

      That's what I was thinking...

      Ok, so, we have this open body of water, where all manner of animals can climb in and take a swim, where birds can relieve themselves, and where rain falls. Dirt washes in, people throw stuff in, bugs get stuck in it, various creatures drown in it... And they're worried about urine? Really?

      And forget the PR side of things; if they hadn't flushed it, no one would have known about it. "Man pees in pond" is hardly news that travels well.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: An open reservoir?

      What's even more bizarre is that head honcho openly admits to finding dead birds inside the reservoir!

      "Shaff said the Water Bureau regularly finds dead animals in the same drinking supply but doesn't dump the water. "This is different," he said.

      "Do you want to drink pee?" he asked bluntly.

      When questioned about scientific data and the small amount of urine in such a large reservoir, he interjected: "Answer the question. It has nothing to do with scientifically.

      "Most people," he added, "are gonna be pretty damn squeamish about that."

    4. dssf

      Even if he stirred his sturdy, dirty waggle in the water

      It would not make for an uncomfortable concentration. But, I guess if he did it on purpose, he could say he was "reversing the meter by peter" and "selling back" some water to the utilities. "One way to pay the water bill", I suppose.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      And surely it gets treated before being piped to the home. There could be all kinds of crap in a reservoir.

      If NASA can recycle pee into drinkable water in space, I wouldn't be too worried about this.

      Although that has raised the question of etiquette among space travellers... do they share?

      1. Dropper


        Drinking water is not treated, it is monitored for bacteria and contaminants. Sewage is treated and water from treated sewage is sometimes returned to the water supply, but that's your lot. It would be too costly to treat water and it's a common misconception both in the UK and US.

        It is tested for things that would make you puke or die and they do add floride, but that's it. Of course the tiny amount of piss this guy added to the supply was irrelevant.

  6. Tony Green

    Because of course...

    ...none of the wildlife in the area has ever pissed or shat into the reservoir.

  7. LuMan


    So, the water goes straight out of the reservoir into peoples' taps (or faucets)? It doesn't get filtered or purified en route? Is the reservoir in open air? Can animals get in it? Personally I would rather drink 1 billionth dilute of a strangers p*ss than all the other animal poo, wee and assiciated 'deposits' that are more likely to be in the water.

    Looks like the local water authority are trying to make a point..... and doing a piss-poor job!

  8. Anonymous IV
    Thumb Up


    The viruses and bacteria in his urine would have been made exceptionally dangerous by such an enormous dilution!

  9. James Pickett

    What about the fish?

    Reminds me of W C Fields's objection to drinking water: "fish fuck in it".

  10. Richard Scratcher


    Urine is a none toxic substance but some of its ingredients (sodium, potassium calcium, etc.) diluted by 7.8 million gallons of water might create a whole range of rather potent homeopathic medicines.

    These might cause severe reactions if consumed by anyone who believes in that kind on nonsense.

  11. John Ruddy


    Do they flush the system when an animal pees into the reservior? Though probably not a penguin, sorry Tux!

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Presumably this was an open air reservoir that birds fly over and shit in? That fish, insects andother wildlife live and die in? That captures water running off surrounding land? Do American’s normally drink direct from that without it being cleaned first? Or is there something significantly more toxic about American pee?

    If a water company thinks that water was clean before then I wouldn't want to be their customer.

    1. Tegne

      Get your Homeopathy facts right. Homeopathy only cures!

      So I think you'll find that if they had been allowed to drink the infinitely diluted pissy water that the entire population of the town would have been immunised and/or cured of any urinary infections.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      fishs do not fuck

      The male fish squirt the semen outside of the female onto ...

      I hope the water is cleanesed after being in the reservoir

    3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      american pee

      I think they were drinking, so if they were drinking Budweiser it'd be double-concentrated (the pee, not the "beer").

      (incidentally, oh noes... I've had American Pie running around in my brain since I woke up... this just makes it worse)

      1. Chronos Silver badge

        Re: American pee

        A long long time ago,

        I can still remember,

        When our water used to taste divine.

        And I knew if we all ran out,

        Of beer and whisky, rum and stout,

        It would be as tasty as the wine.

        But several awful Buds thereafter,

        Found me facing a disaster,

        Bladder overflowing,

        I couldn't stop from going!

        I really think I should have looked,

        For the signs that said I would be booked,

        The sheriff says I might be fucked,

        The day the water died...

        Sorry, couldn't resist ;o)

    4. Matt_V

      Beat me to it

      I was thinking the same, is it not treated on route?!

  13. Ba33


    So do they flush every time a bird craps in the water?

    If this was water that had been processed and ready to go to the consumer then I would have hoped that it wasn't quite so easy to add a foreign liquid to it.

  14. Steve Evans


    Wait until they spot birds crapping in it... And the fish, have they no shame?!!!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Peter Simpson 1

        Chlorinated *before* the (open) reservoirs?

        Sounds to me like this muppet should lose his job. You should purify the water right before it goes into the sealed system, methinks. If it needs to sit, it should be sitting in a covered storage tank.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      What kind of "processing" do they apply to tap water, anyway?

      I'd always assumed that they check the water isn't horribly polluted by keeping fish in it, and doing a few other random tests, then add chlorine and put it down the tubes.

  15. Neil Lewis

    So, this is an open reservoir?

    Open to the air and also to whatever happens to fly over/fall into it? And this official truly believes that a single load of urine is the worst possible thing that could ever go in there? Nature really isn't all pretty flowers and cuddly wabbits and it's stretching belief to breaking point to suggest the water in there was all sparkly clean before that little extra was added to it.

    OK, so the guy probably deserves a reprimand and a fine for his thoughtlessness. The official deserves the sack for his crazily over-zealous reaction and refusal to consider the science. And the bill for the waste ought to be charged to him, since he was obviously 'responsible' for making the decision.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    "It'll kind of depend on what the surveillance video shows."

    Well thats been on the net for several days now.. Here's a video on an article from last week.. (tsk @ slow reg.)

  17. Anonymous Coward

    I this era of "terrorism" ...

    One can't be too careful.

    Ever vigilant(e).

  18. Mark Allen

    Missing part of the story

    The missing part of the story is this is not the main reservoir that was flushed - this is the water storage AFTER it has been treated and is now ready for the tap. We are only talking half a football pitch in size - not the whole reservoir plus ducks.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      @Mark Allen

      Thank you, *now* it makes sense, both from a draining it perspective and a "how the hell do you mistake a lake for a sewage works?" one.

      For some reason[1] that important piece of information was missing from every reported version I've seen so far.

      [1] Sensationalist journalism looks favourite.

    2. Maninthemoon101010

      I really don't think so....

      Water AFTER it's been purified is stored in protected tanks. With a cover. Otherwise, you can have all kinds of stuff dropping right in it: - birds poo, dead birds, rats, peeing idiots, al-Qaeda operatives with little bags of poison... you name it.

      1. John Dougald McCallum


        Apparently this water company is struggling to comply with the relevant Federal regs.

        1. Mark Allen

          and another thing...

          The boss of the reservoir on the radio also mentioned that he could have safely ignored the guy peeing in the water as it was heavily diluted. And he has already had dozens of complaints about flushing the water. But just imagine the complaints he would of had if he hadn't of flushed it.

          They are not exactly short of water in his area either.

        2. Mark Allen

          On Radio Monday Night

          The owner of the reservoir was on the radio on Monday Night talking about it. He also explained that his place is only one of 12 in the US with no roof on the processed \ clean part of the water storage. A roof is coming soon.

          But since when did facts get in the way of a good story? Even the guy interviewing him on the radio kept missing the bit about this being one (of many) processed water storage tanks and not the main reservoir along with the rest of the normal duck mess and dead animals that normal reside in there.

  19. Pete 43


    Mines a (beer) full of vitamin Pee

  20. b166er

    Wrong message

    If all it takes is one guy's urine to ruin a reservoir full of water, terrorists could have a fucking field day with a barrel of LSD. What a ridiculous reaction to this.

    Are they going to spend some money on moving the fence back a few metres/electrifying it?

    After watching that clip (AC 13:33) maybe he was a fall guy and there was a more sinister reason for flushing it.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Terrorists with barrels of LSD

      "If all it takes is one guy's urine to ruin a reservoir full of water, terrorists could have a fucking field day with a barrel of LSD. What a ridiculous reaction to this."

      Actually, they can't. LSD is a VERY fragile molecule, it's destroyed by the chlorine in tap water very, very quickly. This was determined when there was concern that just this scenario may occur with the Chicago water supply.

      So terrorists can happily poison you, or do all sorts of other nasty things, but you'll be safe from an entire town tripping their minds out.

  21. Steve 6

    "It has nothing to do with scientifically."

    'nuff said!

  22. Anonymous Coward

    While Oregon maybe a strange holiday destination

    I'm still so going once they've refilled it, filling up on the poor excuse for beer that they have, and taking a pee in the biggest flushing toilet in the world! :D

  23. Stephen Hunt

    Cost of water...

    So 8,000,000gal = $28,500.00

    Meaning that 1,000gal = $3.56

    Why are my water bills so high?

    1. Rebecca 1


      Is the value of the water before its been treated. The treatment process adds value.

    2. Hungry Sean

      please don't be ignorant

      Oregon is actually a popular tourist destination (beautiful mountains and forest, nice people, temperate climate), and also just happens to make some of the best beer in the US (on par with your Real Ale).

      Of course, assuming the entire US is Alabama is easier, isn't it?

    3. Matt Piechota


      "I'm still so going once they've refilled it, filling up on the poor excuse for beer that they have, and taking a pee in the biggest flushing toilet in the world! :D"

      You clearly haven't had Oregon beer, or frankly any of the other non-mainstream beer in the US.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      The beer here is actually tasty ---

      even if the hipsters insist on drinking PBR and horse piss. Come down for the Brewers Fest during the last full weekend of July, word is it's the closest thing you'll find like a German one on this side of the globe.

  24. Owen Sweeney

    Good old Don McLean..

    Drove my chevvy to the levy, to have a quick pee....

  25. Nigel Brown

    Opening the floodgates (sorry)

    for any eejit to pee in the water - 'for teh lulz.'


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