Imponderable #8: Mt. Tabor Oregon

27 Jul

July 27, 2011

Doesn’t Portland have a filtration system in their reservoir? Actually, it does not, which seems a little reckless when you consider that they had an e coli scare in 2009 and everyone was told to boil their water. It seems that the unfiltered nature of the water was an unspoken secret that only came to light in 2008 when a pair of skinny dippers were found having fun in the water.

It is a fact, admitted by the Water Bureau administrator, that crap gets into the water supply all the time. I am not even talking about illegal dumping or anything man-made, I am talking about dead animals, sick fish, ground toxins, and yes, animal waste and pee. That is a fact and it is assumed and even expected. Strangely, rather than a way to treat or filter the water, which may be expensive but would be practical since it could be done at one central location as water leaves the reservoir, the city floated plans to cover the reservoir, at a cost of $500 million.

According to The Big Book of Boy Stuff by Bart King, an average man pees about 1 to 2 quarts per day. So assuming the drunk peed the limit, that would make 2 quarts of pee diluted in 7.2 million gallons of water. Or 1 quart of pee to every 14.4 million quarts of water. That means that every quart of water from that reservoir would be 1/14,400,000 pee. In other words, that is 6.944 X 10 to the power of -8 percent. This is far, far less than the proverbial drop in the bucket. It is a molecule in the bucket.

Compare this to the FDA guidelines for peanut butter. BEWARE, this is disgusting. The FDA allows an average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams and an average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams. That makes the drunk peeing in the reservoir positively hygienic by comparison.

So is the Water Bureau administrator over-reacting? After all, the two people who skinny dipped in the reservoir didn’t cause him to dump the water, and who knows what kind of bodily fluids they released?

In this era of droughts is it wise to dump 7.2 million gallons of water?

In this economic climate is it wise to waste $35,000 to dump effectively clean water? I admit that no, I don’t want to be drinking anyone’s pee, but at one part per fourteen million I don’t think I am. Consider that the EPA allows up to 7 asbestos fibers per liter of water. Asbestos is a known carcinogen.

Is one quart of human pee worse than the probably thousands of quarts of animal pee and possibly infected waste that goes into the reservoir?

Granted that the reservoir is in the middle of public parkland, how many people have already peed in the water over the years?

The question is Imponderable.

17 Responses to “Imponderable #8: Mt. Tabor Oregon”

  1. Mac of BIOnighT July 27, 2011 at 1:04 am #

    I would make the idiot pay back the amount from his own bank account and then lock him up. No, not the pee-er, I mean the moron who had that much precious water dumped on such ridiculous grounds.
    My faith in humanity is already at an all time low, by the end of imponderable week I guess I’ll just resign from my post as human being…


    • bmj2k July 27, 2011 at 1:10 am #

      Tomorrow’s is more bizarre but less serious- and a whole lot more disgusting. Friday I think we may have a disagreement.

      But “precious” is what water is. Most people just take it for granted.


      • Mac of BIOnighT July 27, 2011 at 1:13 am #

        A disagreement on Friday? Ouch… I’ll restrain myself and try my best not to comment 😉


  2. Thomas Stazyk July 27, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    It’s hard to encapsulate my reaction to this story on top of yesterday’s. Maybe WTF sums it up?


    • bmj2k July 27, 2011 at 2:12 am #

      I hate to keep repeating myself this week, but wait until tomorrow’s Imponderable. THAT is the WTF post.


      • Daniel July 27, 2011 at 4:14 am #

        I know some germophobic people ( extremely germophobic ) that I think that I’ll pass this on to. Including 1 uncle & 1 cousin in particular who can’t go ANYWHERE without a dispenser of hand – sanitizer. I take precautions about what I touch or put in my body, but they’re absolutely MANIC about it at times.

        This’d drive them NUTSO. ;D


        • bmj2k July 27, 2011 at 11:16 am #

          You’ve got a cruel streak, that’s for sure.
          Good for you!


          • Daniel July 27, 2011 at 11:53 am #

            I DO have something of a penchant for psyching people out. This includes 1 time when I told my adult female cousin that a former mortuary – turned – church had a room that kept ZOMBIES ! The woman is THIRTY – NINE to FORTY YEARS OLD, for Heaven’s sake. Of course after dark, anything seems possible. My derisive cackle followed her into the night….. 🙂 But I’m still kind to cats, puppies, kids, etc. 😉


            • bmj2k July 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

              Years ago I was in charge of the warehouse of a retail store. We got from corporate a medium-sized yellow box with emergency supplies like rubber gloves, band-aids, cold packs, nothing special. However, the box had black strips and a biohazzard logo on it- for no reason at all. I put it down on the table in the breakroom and a woman in her fifties asked me what it was for. I told her it was in case there was an emergency. She got a terrified look on her face and squeaked out “what kind of emergency?” I calmly said that the federal government was sending them to all businesses within a ten mile radius of the new toxic waste dump they were building on the other side of the parking lot. She actually believed me and went into a near panic so I had to tell her I was kidding. Over the years she somehow convinced herself that Instead of a toxic waste dump I told her that aliens had landed and she told everyone who started working there not to trust me because I had once convinced her that aliens had landed. Of course all that did was make everyone think she was nuts for falling for that. Which she was.


              • Daniel July 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

                HOLY Mindf**k, Batman ! I had a friend who could spin the wildest, completely B.S. stories with the straightest face, & even fake ME out. Methinks he cried ” Wolf ! ” once too often & people stopped taking him seriously. His family could be the ultimate straight – men – They bounced off of the turnip truck from Dogpatch !

                I can’t top your story, I don’t think. At least at the time being.


                • bmj2k July 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

                  The beauty of the story is that the woman pretty much did it to herself.


                  • Daniel July 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

                    We have met the enemy, & he is us – Pogo the philosopher.


  3. Joe McTee July 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    My first thought after reading it was in regard to several news items from the past year where cities planned to recycle waste water (via extensive filtering) and reintroduce to the city supplies. Folks were up in arms about this, even though it was shown that the water was extremely pure. Given that, as non-sensical as the reaction in this case was, it is in line with that of the common person (I don’t count myself in that group). To say this is an overreaction is an understatement of immense proportions!


    • bmj2k July 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

      I would like the Water Bureau administrator to be more educated about water than the common man. His reaction to the incident should have been more intelligent than “yuck!” There have been so many reports and analyses of water from the UN and other sources (not that I’m crazy about the UN but they have a point here I agree with) that in the future water and water rights will be one of the major points of global conflict. Here in the US it has already been the subject of lawsuits between states in the West. It shouldn’t be too much to expect an administrator of the Water Brueau to be as educated about water as I am.


  4. The Hook July 28, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Great digging, good sir!


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