The Ick Factor to Recycled Water – Just a Drop in the Ocean

just-a-drop-in-the-ocean-543410-mPut this in the column of wacky Friday stories.  In a story this week involving Portland, Oregon’s, drinking water reservoir:

One man caught urinating into Portland’s Mt. Tabor reservoir on Wednesday morning caused panic – forcing the city to dump almost 8 million gallons of drinking water at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

Police were called to the open air reservoir, which supplies some of the city’s 500,000 residents with their water, after surveillance cameras captured the unidentified 21-year-old relieving himself by the water’s edge.

While the police did not arrest or charge the man, this is the fourth contamination incident in five-years for the controversial reservoir, causing them to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars dumping millions of gallons of drinking water each time.

Full story here.  The resulting consequence of this stranger relieving himself in Portland’s water supply cost $36,000.  I’m quite confident the City would not have made this costly decision but for the public’s squeamishness and the “ick” factor associated with “recycled” water.  But truth be told, we humans drink recycled water every day.  There isn’t a glass of water or soda consumed that hasn’t previously been cleansed by the kidneys of another human, or dinosaur for that matter.  The risk to the public from this event was non-existent.  So, we the public need to get over the ick factor, and stop making our resource managers make these kind of silly decisions.  And increasingly, the need for using reclaimed water grows, where strains on the environment, aquatic life, and water resources are reaching a breaking point. 

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