June 5th, 2014 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: City Hall, Environment, Health

The 10 Most Ridiculous Calls to City Hotline During Boil-Water Scare

"I’m not going to boil the water," one caller said. "My maid is out today."

     
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news2_ecoli_3839IMAGE: WW Photo Illustration

At least one Portland city worker found some levity while last month's boil-water warning was in effect.

Documents obtained by WW under Oregon public records law show that a Water Bureau engineer filling in at the call center compiled a list of the 10 most absurd questions he received after city officials warned Portlanders to boil their water May 23.

The email titled "All in a days work (in the call center)" was sent about seven hours after the city warned residents about positive E. coli tests in two Mount Tabor reservoirs, sparking the largest boil-water notice in city history. The comic-relief email was forwarded through the Water Bureau, all the way up to director David Shaff.

It lists 10 calls from citizens panicked, skeptical or angry about the health risks of drinking possibly contaminated tap water.

WW reported in 2012 that the chances of illness from finding such positive samples was vanishingly small. But city officials last month prepared days in advance for the possibility they would be required to notify Portlanders of the potential danger in their tap water.

Here's the full text of the email:

Calls I answered Friday afternoon

        

        #1

        You sons of  bitchess [sic]…what is the problem now?

        You know. I live in a $1.5 million home on Council Crest
overlooking you people.

        I’m not going to boil the water.  My maid is out today.

        You know what you are?  You are nothing.  You are
garbage.

        My response: “Do you have a question?”

        

        #2

        The water looks fine.  Its clear.  Is this some more
northwest non-sense?

        

        #3

        I drank the water this morning.  Am I going to die?

        

        #4

        Is it safe to drink the water in containers I filled
last year?

        

        #5

        Should I go eat at a restaurant?

        

        #6

        Can I shower?

        My response (I realized after it may have come across
badly): “Yes, if you keep your mouth shut”

        

        #7

        I already brushed my teeth.  What do I do?

        

        #8

        I am not going to give you my address.

        

        #9

        This is all part of a conspiracy, you know.

        

        #10

        I heard its over!

 
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