Down the drain — or not

Restroom issues due to age of building, misuse.


Jemima Scott

Sophomore Edna Tesfaye washes her hands in the restroom on the third flood of Flood Mansion. The restrooms clog frequently in the Flood Mansion and Grant Building.

Grace Ainslie, Senior Reporter

During passing periods and after school, the restrooms are some of the most visited places on campus, but finding a working stall can sometimes be difficult.

The 10 girls restroom stalls throughout the Flood Mansion clog regularly.

“The clogging happens be- cause this building was built in 1886 and was built for a family,” Plant Operations Director Geoff De Santis said. “We have old piping throughout the building and it’s designed to hold the capacity of four to eight people and not over 100.”

The restrooms have a lot of activity during passing periods, which tends to overwhelm the system, especially with back-to-back users, according to De Santis.

Students also use the stalls as alternate changing rooms to change for sports, to save up to a six flight trek to the gym.

“When people are changing for sports, they take the unclogged bathrooms, so people that actually need to go to the bathroom have to wait a while because everyone is changing,” sophomore Tess Wilmoth said.

However, athletes often use the restroom for both changing and using the toilet.

“It’s really frustrating to change in the clogged stalls,” junior Olivia Hoekendijk, who runs track and field, said. “Peo- ple usually change in the clogged stalls, but then have to wait to actually go to the bathroom.”

The Facilities Department services unclogs the toilets and checks them throughout the week, along with the janitorial staff, according to De Santis. The school hires an outside company to snake out, use a drain auger to push clogged items, the pipes on a quarterly basis.

Heavy rains can cause more problem with the plumbing due to sewer lines backing up, according to De Santis.

Construction going on throughout the City — including Pacific Heights — should help to improve the quality of the restrooms because it will enlarge the City’s sewer capacity allows for more of the school’s waste to go through, according to De Santis.

The school would consider repiping the Broadway campus if the safety and sanitary needs of the students are compromised, but is not going to this year.

“That’s a large task that involves opening up a lot of walls, a lot of ceilings and a lot of floors which takes time and is costly,” De Santis said.

Students can help prevent clogging by only using the necessary amount of toilet paper and not flushing any feminine hygiene products.

“It’s just hit or miss,” De Santis said. “It just really depends on the amount of waste that is be- ing put into the toilets and the amount of toilet paper that is being flushed.”