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When Urinals Strike Back

December 4, 2014

If your job was to just sit there and collect urine, you’d probably get fed up, too.

Pop-Up UrinalThe Exploding Amsterdam Pop-Up Urinal

The Sin City of Europe has had a problem with public urination for decades. Many folks who have had one too many while touring the many clubs in the Red Light District often wee in the nearest canal, or even on the locals’ front doors. To fight this problem, the city introduced nine innovative “Urlift” urinals a few years ago. On busy weekends, they mechanically “pop up” out of the sidewalks and disappear again by the following Monday morning. Unfortunately, on November 28th, one of the urinals suddenly shot up unexpectedly, sending a scooter that was parked on top of it. The vehicle hit a man nearby and he was hospitalized with several injuries. The accident was later blamed on a gas explosion.

The Exploding Capitol Building Urinal

In June 2012, a urinal exploded in a restroom in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Building. Within a few moments, water flowed under the door and made its way toward the nearby House Press Gallery and an office used by the Associated Press. This caused quite a stir, as security staff, reporters, and Congressional workers all rushed to combat the rising waters. Stacks of magazines and periodicals that had been piling up in the gallery found a second life as makeshift sandbags and sponges. Eventually, staffers managed to get the water shut off but not before the urinal managed to destroy the gallery’s carpet. The culprit? Faulty pipes.

The Environmentally Unfriendly Urinals of Spanish River High School

A few years ago, the public school system in Florida’s Palm Beach County decided to help protect the environment (and cut back on its hefty utility bills) by installing futuristic “waterless” urinals in many of its facilities. This didn’t go over so well at Boca Raton’s Spanish River High School. Faulty copper pipes caused the urinals in two bathrooms to overflow and created a series of very stinky messes. Urine flowed across floors, into hallways and even into a classroom. Administrators quickly ordered the installation of “low-flow’ urinals before hammering out repair costs with the manufacturer.

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