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Water/Waste Processing e-News / Drinking Water

Teen contaminates Portland's drinking water supply

April 29, 2014
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The city of Portland, Oregon, was forced to dump about 38 million gallons of drinking water after a teenager was caught urinating in the Mt. Tabor water reservoir on April 16.

Video footage showed a group of three teenagers trying to climb over the fence of the reservoir, with one of contaminating the water reserves. The reservoir was taken out of service immediately after the contamination was revealed and officials started testing water samples. The 38 million gallons that had to be dumped will be replaced with fresh water taken from the Bull Run supply, media reports said.

According to Portland water administrator David Shaff, the risk for adverse health effects was very small but the agency was not going to deliver deliberately contaminated water to its customers. Shaff added that the city had sufficient water reserves and compensating for the lost amount of fresh water would not be a problem.

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This is not the first time the same reservoir has been affected by deliberate contamination. In 2011 another man was spotted urinating in the reservoir, which led to the dumping of 7.5 million gallons of water, BBC News reported.

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