Though the House was out of session Monday, the chamber’s press gallery kept busy when a flood from the men’s restroom caused enough damage to warrant replacement carpet tiles.
According to Architect of the Capitol spokeswoman Eva Malecki, the “flush valve sensor in one of the urinals became stuck in the ‘flush’ position, which resulted in excess water overrunning the drain over a period of time. “Plumbers responded immediately and fixed the sensor,” Malecki continued.
We at HOH think that translates roughly as: The toilet overflowed. And something about technology made it worse, which is frequently the case.
But we digress.
The AOC contacted the staff of the House Chief Administrative Officer to remove the portions of the carpet that were damaged by the flood. Replacement carpet will be installed once the area dries.
Bystanders were initially concerned that this was not an isolated incident but rather indicative of broader problems occurring as the Capitol complex continues to age — like when a 64-square-foot section of plaster fell from the ceiling of the Cannon House Office Building last fall.
There was also speculation that the flooding would leak through to the floors below: the Speaker’s Lobby and the House chamber itself.
But Malecki emphasized that it was simply due to a “sensor malfunction” and that no further damage was sustained.
We at HOH understand that ever since the heyday of President Richard Nixon’s “plumbers” during the Watergate era, any kind of issues with fixing leaks can be sensitive, especially when it comes to the press.