Erupting urinal soaks House press gallery

By Billy House

June 4, 2012

A big splash occurred on Monday morning at the House Press Gallery in the U.S. Capitol.

No, this wasn’t one of those unexpected guest appearances for celebrities to talk to reporters about some favorite cause.

This splash came from an exploding urinal. More specifically, something suddenly broke in the piping of the third-floor urinal, and water began spewing from beneath the men’s room door.

As the water flowed, it first surrounded the Associated Press’s working area, then spread toward both ends of the gallery, which was occupied by fewer than usual reporters and staffers, because the House is out of session until Tuesday.

Capitol Police officers, gallery staff, and other U.S. Capitol personnel moved to contain the flow. In doing so, they found a use, finally, for the gallery's stacks of unread newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals, as makeshift sponges and sandbags.

Employees from the Architect of the Capitol and other Capitol staffers managed to eventually stop the geyser. In came vacuums to suck up the water, and a section of the gallery carpeting was taken up – leaving behind a sticky floor.

New carpeting is to be installed in the early morning on Tuesday.

Some concern remained that water may have seeped through the floor toward the Speaker’s Gallery on the second floor, next to the House Chamber. That was still being checked on Monday afternoon.

(Image via Carlos Caetano /Shutterstock.com)


By Billy House

June 4, 2012

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2012/06/erupting-urinal-soaks-house-press-gallery/56070/