Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish says flushing 38 million gallons of water after a man urinated in the Mt. Tabor Reservoir system is the correct call, even if it prompts complaints that the city is overreacting or wasting water.
Fish, who has run the Water Bureau since last year, said he told administrators at the bureau to err on the side of public health when deciding how to handle the contamination. Water Bureau officials say the potential health risk from the Wednesday morning incident, in which a 19-year-old man peed in Reservoir 5, are miniscule. Still, they exist, Fish said.
“I didn’t have a choice. I don’t have the luxury of slicing it too thin when there’s a potential risk, however small, to public health,” he said. “Frankly, it’s one of those calls where you know you’re likely to be criticized no matter what. The professionals who report to me all said, ‘Dump the water. Don’t take any chances.’ It’s the conservative but correct call.”