Francis Emelogu // The Daily Cougar
As the latest head-shaking event in adolescent oddities, a Portland teen wasted 38 million gallons of purified water by peeing in it.
As caught on a security camera, the 19-year-old relieved himself through an iron fence guarding the Mount Tabor Reservoir on April 16. The supply was set to be distributed to local customers through mains but will now be drained into the sewage system, which leads to the Columbia River. The supply must go, said David Shaff, the Portland Water Bureau administrator.
“The reality is our customers don’t anticipate drinking water that’s been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir,” Shaff said.
With a complete disregard for Earth Day, this “yahoo” managed to ruin millions of potential water bottle refills, but apparently, it’s nothing new — animals pee in it all the time. However, Shaff assures the public that the contamination was never really that contaminating, and that there’s no “health crisis.” Shaff also said it’s not as terrible a fiasco as it sounds because “it’s easy to replace those 38 million gallons of water” when you take into consideration that Portland “is not in the arid Southwest.”
“We’re not in drought-stricken parts of Texas or Oklahoma,” Shaff said.
Two other males were caught at the scene after attempting to scale the fence. The names of the three men have not been released, luckily for them, but they were charged with trespassing and public urination on a grand scale.
This is not the first incident of its kind in Portland. In 2011, the same reservoir at Mount Tabor drained 7.5 million gallons of water after another peeing incident. The perpetrator pleaded guilty to “misuse of a reservoir” and was ordered to complete community service.
So while Portland may be safe in terms of water supply, it apparently is not safe in terms of bladder control. Instead of writing the problem off as something easily fixed, they should look to their civilians as to why they keep peeing in it. It’s unbelievable to think that they really have enough water to let millions of gallons go to waste. The fact that this is the second urine-related occurrence for Portland’s reservoirs is proof enough that they should reconsider the value of water — and get higher fences.
The co-founder of the organization Friends of the Reservoirs, Floy Jones, said the Bureau’s decision to flush the water was “extremely wasteful” and that the urine may have never even reached the reservoir through the fence. However, even if it had, it wouldn’t have mattered unless the man had AIDS or another transmittable disease, Jones said.
This comes on the heels of a Spring Break prank five UH students played at San Antonio’s SeaWorld last month. After scaling a wall, the fraternity brothers managed to break into a storage area, where they proceeded to eat ice cream. Why one would steal ice cream upon breaking-and-entering a monstrous establishment like SeaWorld, I don’t understand.
According to KHOU, these UH gems were looking for animals to take photos with during their night of illegality. Of the five, only two were caught and arrested by SAPD investigators: Duc Nguyen and Huy Mai. Charged with theft and criminal trespassing, Nguyen and Mai were held at an $800 bond.
SeaWorld released this statement regarding the break-in: “SeaWorld is working with San Antonio law enforcement to investigate individuals who were unlawfully trespassing early this morning. San Antonio Police Department has custody of two individuals, and SeaWorld has not found any animals harmed as a result of this morning’s event.”
While Spring Break pranks are nothing new in schools — high schools and colleges alike — there’s something to be said about the desperation of breaking into a water park only to be left with a sugar rush and matching mug shots.
If Cougars are going to roam, at least look to UH’s offerings before going after Shamu and his whale friends for a selfie. For example, the indoor pool at the Recreation Center is the perfect escape if one is feeling fishy. If one is in search of animal companions, the UH warrior squirrels are at one’s service — in fact, I would not be surprised if they had their own account on Instagram.
In the end, if all that one really wants is ice cream, the University Center Satellite is a magical, dessert-filled establishment with plenty of options for those with a sweet tooth.
So whether you’re a freshman who really has to “go” near a city reservoir or a few Cougars carrying out a costly prank, put your paws together and think. Summer is nearing, so if you’re visiting SeaWorld, pay for the ticket, please.
For those of us who amuse ourselves with restrooms and the giant critters tittering around campus, adolescents are being given a bad name.
Cue Jon Bon Jovi.
Opinion columnist Alex Meyer is a creative writing freshman and may be reached at email@example.com
“Intoxicated students look to reservoirs and Shamu for comfort” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar