PORTLAND – The Portland Water Bureau is looking into whether two dead birds may have contributed to last month’s E. coli contamination.
The birds were found in Mount Tabor Reservoir #5 after it was drained due to the E. coli scare, which led to the largest boil water alert ever in Portland.
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The reservoirs involved were all drained and cleaned after the contamination was found. They were then reopened after follow-up tests no longer detected E. coli in the water.
“When staff drained and began cleaning Reservoir 5 last week, they discovered a dead bird at the bottom of the reservoir at the outlet’s ‘mud ring,’” water bureau spokesman Tim Hall explained. “The bird was found at the base of the ring. The decayed remains of a second bird were also found stuck to the liner on the other end of the reservoir.”
He added that there was no way to know “with certainty” that the dead birds were the cause of the E. coli contamination.
Reservoir 1 also tested positive for E. coli, but Hall said the pipe that connects the two reservoirs was closed so there would have been no way for the bird carcasses to contaminate the water there.