TODAY   |  April 18, 2014

Portland to drain reservoir in which man urinated

Residents in Portland, Ore., are questioning the city’s plans to drain a water reservoir after security video captured a 19-year-old man urinating in it. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> some are questioning a decision to drain millions of gallons from a reservoir . this after a teenager did something very inappropriate in the city's water supply . here's nbc's joe fryer.

>> reporter: in portland , oregon, security video captures a 19-year-old man mistaking this water reservoir for a urinal.

>> the one guy urinated in the reservoir .

>> reporter: an expensive restroom break now costing the city 38 million gallons of water.

>> to just flush that isn't just flushing the water down the toilet, it's also taxpayer dollars.

>> reporter: after the breach, water samples came back clean, yet the city still plans to flush this reservoir and refill it with fresh drinking water .

>> our customers don't expect us to send them water that has human urine in it, so we're going to dump the reservoir .

>> reporter: a good idea to some because the water is treated before entering this reservoir , not after.

>> we need to feel safe, you know, that whatever we drink off of it needs to be, like, clean and purified.

>> reporter: but others are questioning the decision to put so much water down the drain because the tests came back clean, and an uncovered reservoir like this is susceptible to all kinds of -- well, elements.

>> you have birds, you have animals. you know, it's an open space , and so i'm sure that urine is not the only thing that has been deposited in the reservoir .

>> reporter: this isn't a first for portland . grainy surveillance video shows a man urinating in a reservoir in 2011 , forcing them to drain eight million gallons. soon the federal government will require the city to cover these open air reservoirs, a controversial move in portland , but one that could relieve the city from those relieving themselves. for "today," joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles .

>> seems to me you should treat the water after it leaves the reservoir . they treat it before it goes in.

>> you hope there's a sanitation process.

>> so the birds, they do their thing, at least it's getting treated after.

>> you know what else? the teenagers should not relieve themselves in a reservoir .

>> where would they get that