The Priest Reservoir in the Sierra foothills near Sonora, California, is a source of drinking water for 2.5 million Bay Area consumers. Now, a mid-level water manager is in trouble after being caught urinating into said reservoir.
According to City Hall sources, Martin Sanchez, a maintenance planner with the Public Utilities Commission, apparently earning an annual salary of $111,000, is likely to be suspended without pay for a maximum period of five days over the incident, which happened on January 6.
The Priest Reservoir is one of four used to supply water to San Francisco and other Bay Area cities. The reservoir is apparently the last stop before the Moccasin Reservoir from which untreated water is sent via pipeline to San Francisco and the Bay Area. Before being delivered to customers, the water is treated with ultraviolet light and chlorine.
The controversy over Sanchez urinating into the reservoir began when an anonymous complaint was sent to higher-ups in the San Francisco Water Power Sewer commission, stating that various employees had seen Sanchez urinate on several occasions into the reservoir. This reportedly included a day when Sanchez heard that he had passed an interview for a management promotion and staff realized they would soon be reporting directly to him. The complaint called on the commission to do something about the man's "disgusting and egregious" conduct.
Responding to the enquiry, Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the utilities commission in San Francisco, said in a statement that the 674-million-gallon water reservoir was "completely drained" for maintenance at the time Sanchez urinated into it.
However, Jue did say that while the urine posed no health threats, Sanchez's action was unacceptable, warning him not to do it again.
"The bottom line is — you pee in the wrong place again, and you are toast."
The San Francisco Chronicle tried on several occasions to phone Sanchez seeking comment from the water manager, without success.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post about the incident, comments ranged from saying that Sanchez should be setting an example to others, to the fact that bears and fish also do it, to asking how he would like it if the commenter peed in the water manager's drinking water.
On the subject of California's water supply, the Inquisitr reported back in December that NASA had released a report saying at least 11 trillion gallons of water are needed to end California's three-year-long drought. Possibly the San Francisco water manager was just doing his bit.
[Image: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Threthny]