A Wee Pee

An expensive leak

If you have ever been to a public swimming pool then I am pretty certain that you will have swallowed water with a very diluted sample of someone’s else’s urine. People, and especially young children pee in swimming pools. Normally no one gives it a second thought but when a Portland 21-year-old man urinated in the Mount Tabor reservoir, administrators decided to dump the water supply at a cost of $36,000.

I reckon that he probably produced no more than a third of a gallon whereas the reservoir holds 7.8 million gallons. Urine is relatively sterile and even if he had hepatitis, I am reliably informed that the virus would not survive long. And of course, in some cultures, drinking urine is considered therapeutic. I am not advocating that practice but emptying the reservoir is somewhat of an over-reaction by the authorities. What’s more is that dead animal carcasses regularly turn up in the reservoir and yet, the authorities do not take any actions. When asked about the decision to drain the reservoir, administrator David Shaff said,”Do you want to drink pee?” When pushed further on the scientific rationale, he retorted, “Answer the question. It has nothing to do with scientifically. Most people are gonna be pretty damn squeamish about that.”

This incident reveals the strength of essentialism as well as scientific ignorance. No wonder homeopathy is perceived as being effective.


Filed under In the News, Weird Story of the Week

7 responses to “A Wee Pee

  1. Man, I’d call David Shaff and idiot, but then idiots everywhere would be offended.

  2. Rox

    It’ s a very American way of dealing with complex problems. I remember some top lawyer saying something like “I don’t care what you do in Europe, here in America we don’t like baby-killers”. This was to completely disregard the complex motivations of a new mother in a distressing situation, and indeed most people in Europe would have taken a more humanitarian view .

  3. Um, how many animals relieve themselves in this reservoir on a daily basis?

  4. This makes me very sad…

  5. Last month the Portland City Council approved an 80 million contract to build a new reservoir at Powell Butte that will eventually help mitigate closing open-air storage at Mt. He originally said that will cost the bureau about 600 000 in lost revenue but later clarified that his math was very wrong and that the water would have sold for a retail price of almost 28 500 and disposal fees are expected at about 7 600.

  6. Rox

    Whatever the scientific arguments, people reading this in the UK may be relieved (no pun intended) to hear that that all reservoirs in the UK containing TREATED water are covered. The point about this one in the USA is that, incredibly really, the water was supposedly treated and ready to go to the consumers to be drunk .

    I do wonder if Professor Hood has compared the proportion of urine in American drinking water, which he condones, to the proportion of maggot fat in traditional Wiltshire dripping, which puts him off.

  7. Pingback: Cognitive Sewage |

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