Portland, Ore., dumped 38 million gallons of drinking water because of a urinating teenager.
That teenager’s pee added about 0.01 PPM (part-per-million) of pollution to the water supply. That more than 200 times less than the allowable amount in drinking water. Oregon official admitted that they sometimes found dead animals in the reservoir but that never triggered the dump. Because, “no one want to drink pees.”
We drink pees all the time. Earth’s water is a close system. Every drops of water has a contamination from some animal pees sometime. For the Oregonian reservoirs, they get bird poops probably every day. Their sources also collected animal pees on their ways to the reservoirs. Modern water treatment facilities can rid pretty much all those pollutants and deliver safe drinking water to households. Minimally, they must be compliant to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and various local regulations.
A normal person uses about 100 gallons a day and most of them for flushing the toilets. 38 million gallons will serve about a third of the Portland population for a day.
The water in the reservoirs was naturally collected and has not been treated. So it is essentially free. If the officials are reasonably smart, they will dump the water on a tributary that will lead the water back to other reservoirs. Even if they really dump it to the wild, there is really no harm done. All water on earth are recycled, there will be no loss of water in the system.
Yep, much ado about nothing. Except for annoying Californians who are parching from a historical drought.