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PORTLAND, Ore. – The city of Portland has decided not to completely flush millions of gallons of drinking water down the drain after a teenager allegedly urinated in it. At least, they won't flush it for now.
City officials said Wednesday that about 35-36 million gallons of water from Mount Tabor's Reservoir 5 has been completely moved to Reservoir 6 in Mount Tabor Park.
It will remain there as part of an experiment to see whether the city's reservoirs can be used as water features after they are phased out of use in 2015.
Portland made national headlines on April 16 when it announced it would flush 38 million gallons of drinking water into the sewers after a teen was spotted on a security camera apparently urinating in the reservoir. Tests of the water for contamination later came back negative.
The decision was made April 21, as originally reported in The Oregonian, to stop expelling the water into the sewer system and move it instead to Reservoir 6, on the east side of the park, which has sat empty since 2010.
"We've decided to keep it there to see how long we can keep it clear," Water Bureau spokeswoman Jaymee Cuti said Wednesday.
Cuti said that neighbors have expressed a desire to keep the 100-year-old reservoirs as water features or ponds after they are decommissioned. The city's plan is to observe the water to see how long it can remain free of algae and other growth as a stagnant pool.
Portland built new holding facilities at Kelly and Powell buttes after the federal government mandated it replace its open reservoir system with covered tanks.
Cuti could not say what would happen next with the water now in Reservoir 6.
"Right now, we are just waiting to see how long it will stay clear," Cuti said.
Reservoir 5 on the other hand, has been refilled and is back online, according to Cuti.
In the meantime, work to disconnect all reservoirs from the city's water supply should start later this year.