Toilets in the General Services Assembly headquarters blew-up Monday breaking down into shards of porcelain that seriously injured two federal employees, one seriously enough to be hospitalized.
The Washington Post reports the accident began the water tank on the roof of the agency’s headquarters.
A second toilet exploded on the first floor within moments of the first, injuring the second employee.
The 2,500 employees were then sent a memo informing them the toilets and stalls were off-limits because the plumbing was malfunctioning and the lavatories were dangerous.
Both injured employees work for the Department of Homeland Security.
Apparently the cause of the blast is a ‘perfect storm’ of plumbing problems written up in plumbing texts but rarely ever seen.
From The Post:
Water in a building as old as this one, built between 1930 and 1935, needs to flow at a higher pressure to reach the top floors. A storage tank boosts the pressure, using air as a spring to push water through the pipes.
GSA spokeswoman Emily Barocas said Wednesday that the tank’s control system malfunctioned, plunging the water level below normal and allowing air to seep into the pipes, where it shouldn’t be because it gets compressed. The air hit the toilet bowls when they were flushed, and the result was not pretty.
“You get a geyser … A recipe for disaster.”
The accident is under investigation.
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