(Reuters) - A public utilities employee found to have urinated into a California drinking water reservoir that had been emptied for maintenance likely will be suspended for several days without pay, a utility official said on Tuesday.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission learned from an employee that Martin Sanchez, who earns $111,000 a year as a maintenance planner, on Jan. 6 urinated into the Priest Reservoir just west of Yosemite National Park, said utility spokesman Tyrone Jue.

"There was actually no impact to public health, there was no impact to water supply. It was just an unacceptable action by this employee," Jue said.

He said Sanchez, who works for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, has not received his discipline but he likely will be suspended without pay for several days.


"The message to him is very clear, even after this disciplinary action - zip it up or you're going to get shipped out," Jue said.

The Priest Reservoir, which holds 674 million gallons when full, is part of the massive Hetch Hetchy Water System that serves people in the San Francisco Bay area.

Water from the reservoir is treated with chlorine and by shining ultraviolet light on it as it passes through tubes.

After receiving the report that Sanchez had urinated in the reservoir, the utility concluded that he had in fact done the deed, Jue said. No criminal charges are pending in the case.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)

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