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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Transfer of 'tainted' water sparks debate, concern

While critics say city overacted, event highlights vulnerabilities in critical water reserves.

The city of Portland, Oregon recently transferred 38 million gallons of water from an active reservoir, after a teenager allegedly urinated in it on April 16; the tainted water was moved to an empty, inactive holding area, at an estimated cost of $35,000 to taxpayers.

Authority asserts that by implementing a transfer, rather than dumping the water entirely, they will have an opportunity to test if standing water - left unattended - will cleanse itself of impurities; critics quickly labeled the plan a wild overreaction, with some noting that the water had already been tested (before deciding to transfer it), with said-water being deemed safe to drink.

Whether the transfer was reasonable or ridiculous is fodder for debate, with many taking to Twitter to do just that; one thing the event has done which cannot be debated away is highlight how precarious security is at water holding facilities, and how vulnerable they could be to a legitimate terrorist attack.

If a meandering 19 year-old can wander into a purportedly secure area and relieve himself, the chance of a pre-planned, coordinated and wide-spread terrorist attack being successful becomes quite plausible; with the potential for large-scale drought ever-present, water reservoirs play a critical role in maintaining basic urban survival, thus such naked weaknesses in security should - at the very least - be viewed as alarming.

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