Skip to comments.Water tank vandals a pair of whiz kids
Posted on 04/07/2006 3:13:25 AM PDT by Panerai
BLACKSTONE - The water scare that recently left worried Blackstone residents high and dry is being blamed on vandals urinating in a giant water tank.
It sounds kind of stupid but true, Selectman Chairman Charles Sawyer said yesterday.
Sawyer said the two teenage boys who broke into the water supply told police there was nothing in a suspicious bucket found near the tank, but admitted to relieving themselves in the tank.
Its a serious, serious crime. A lesson has to be learned from this, Sawyer added.
The two 15-year-olds broke into a Blackstone water tank March 27, forcing a two-day town-wide water ban that ended when state tests showed no harmful levels of E. coli or other bacteria.
Police also recovered a road flare the boys allegedly threw in the 1.3 million-gallon tank, which has been drained and is being refilled to return online next week, Sawyer said. The boys are accused of getting past a 12-foot fence and cutting lines to an alarm and venting.
Police have charged both boys with malicious destruction of property, tampering with a public water supply, polluting the water supply and trespassing. A teenage girl will also be summoned to court to face a trespassing charge.
Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said he could not confirm Sawyers report because his department did not test for urine in the water supply.
This coffee, tastes weird.
Great reporting; the story first says that they urinated in the water tank, then it says that they "relieved themselves" in the tank, and then that the water was tested for E. Coli and other harmful bacteria.
If they HAD only urinated in the tank, there would be no concern for E. Coli or other bacteria, since urine is sterile. They obviously defecated in the tank. Stoopid reporter....
"It does have a little wang in it."
-"Hollywood Knights" reference.
Good thing they weren't terrorists putting poison into the water. I thought water supplies were supposed to be protected.
No brainer, isn't it?
I know that pointing out a 15 year old boy did something stupid (as a former 15 year old boy, I have personal experience in this area) is redundant...
What were these kids thinking? Did they expect not to drink or eat anything with water and refrain from bathing until the tank had emptied of the water they contaminated? Its gross even for a 15 year old boy.
Right you are! And in a perfect world no one has ever whizzed in the pool either.
I like your screen name - very creative.
Not neccessarily! Part of the Standard water test is for e-coli. It is an indicator organism. Stands to reason that if someone has contaminated the water in any way, you run the full gamut of tests.
Do the math. 1.3 million gal tank. If they put in 1.5 gals of lets say poison, it would still only be 1 part per million.
By weight we are talking about 10,400,000 lbs. It would require a 10 pound sack of contaminant to equal 1 part per million.
Remember also that water is leaving and entering the tank at the same time further diluting the contaminant. It really is more difficult than one would think to effectively poison a large water supply.
That does not mean, These idiots should be taken lightly.
It does mean, however, that we should keep these "scares" in perspective.
Anyway, potassium cyanide is relatively cheap to make, highly toxic, and readily soluble in water. LD50 for KCN is 10 mg/kg, or thereabouts, so to make 1 8 oz. glass of water highly toxic, we want to shoot for 680 mg/glass, assuming a 150 pound (68 kg) person. To contaminate 1.3 million gallons to that extent - ignoring for a moment the issue you raise about dilution from water flowing into and out of the tank - would then require just over 14,000 kg of KCN, or about 15-1/2 tons of the stuff. Which is, to say the least, a little bit more than you're going to haul in a backpack. A really sophisticated attacker might try a biological agent rather than a chemical agent, but in that case, you're way beyond what someone can cook up in a basement lab.
Whoa; calm down. Your assumption seems to be that the kids had UTI's. My point was that normally, urine is sterile. You wouldn't expect an adolescent male to have a UTI (not saying it can't happen, but it's very low on the probability list).
Is the water kept in the tanks sterile? Is the water totally isolated from micro-organisms? Do your think that 300-400cc of urine in a 1.3 million gallon tank (even if the urine was infected), would contaminate the water supply?
There's probably more urine (on a percentage basis) in the public swimming pool than in this tank (and some people do inadvertantly swallow pool water). Aside from that, my original point is that it sounded as though they defecated in the tank; E. Coli is a common organism in feces and shouldn't normally be in urine.
Send them to Malaysia for a good caning.
Now if only they were Mexican, here illegally, they could walk off scott-free...
"It does have a little 'wang' to it."
Great to see another Hollywood Knight's fan. Still one of the funniest movies ever.
Free Chlorine is that chlorine which is still active after "demand dosages' have been met. Technically it is assumed that all water has some organic contaminants. Chlorine "burns" up those contaminants. If only enough is used to do this, the water can form trihalomethanes. (which is what you smell when you think drinking water has been overchlorinated, actually it has not enough) At this point (break even) you add additional chlorine to prevent this.
Now then I am about five years out of date, due to retirement,and the methods of ultraviolet and reverse osmosis, are newer than my education.
The only point I was trying to make is that it takes a lot more effort than peeing or taking a dump in the holding tank to make water a water system unsafe.
Senator Bedfellows numbers are more descriptive than my own.
Now for an "Urban Legend" that is alluded to in water classes throughout the State of Texas. Near a large University somewhere East of Austin, during an inspection of the interior of an elevated storage tank belonging to a municpality, it was found one of the interior walkways was furnished with a small sofa and several cases of empty beer cans. Draw your own conclusions, and remember it's only a rumor from a long time ago.
I conclude that I'm happy that I didn't attend this university. Mainly for the "ick" factor, if not heath concerns ;)
Anyway, you could probably engineer a biological agent that would survive chlorinated water systems - you'd probably start with a chlorine resistant strain of E. coli or Legionalla, or protozoans like Giardia or Cryptosporidium, and tweak them to increase their effects on humans. But again, this is beyond the ability of some guy working out of his basement - while it's probably doable, we're talking about large investments of time, money, equipment, and expertise to pull it off. Comparatively speaking, biological agents are much, much harder to produce than chemical agents. Hell, even nuclear weapons are probably somewhat easier to produce, since you at least have a sort of blueprint to work from with nukes.
The worst part about this deal is that two kids were able to foil "security" measures.
Sounds as if we are both "on the same page".