Nancy Barber (nlbarber) wrote,
Nancy Barber

Paging Miles Vorkosigan

It seems my office is in need of a forensic plumber. We've had numerous toilet backups at this place all the time I've worked there (12+ years), but lately the problem has gotten worse. Stern words were had with the lessor and with GSA who negotiates the leases, and the lessor installed new, high-volume-flush toilets to deal with the problem. But then the problem kept occurring, with 4 overflows in November, each resulting in closing the main restrooms, leaving the "NAWQA toilets" (one seat each for men and women, located on the far side of the office from me) for all 100 people who work here. Emails reminding/begging/demanding that no paper towels or other unflushable items be placed in the toilets had no effect.

Which leads to today's all-hands meeting. It seems that last Thursday after a backup, the entire line from the main restrooms to outside the building was completely cleared and was examined with a downhole camera to look for problems. Monday there was another backup, and the plumbers pulled about 3 pounds of some sort of cellulose material from the line. And one previous incident apparently retrieved rags from the sewer line, though without knowing that the line was positively clear just before. Conclusion: vandalism, probably from an employee.

Management is frustrated and doesn't know what to do. Unless the perp confesses, or has told someone else who turns him in (it's probably a "him"--the clogs are in the line from the men's restroom), it's probably impossible to identify the culprit. The meeting was part plea to the unknown perp to quit (either the vandalism or his job) or find some other way to express whatever his problem is (the office chief offered phone numbers for his supervisor and for the Personnel Office), and part list of Things Which Will Happen the next time, which will bother everyone including (it is assumed) the perp. These include: not doing cleanups of the mess, though the plumbing will be repaired. Not hurrying to call the plumber--the interim solution will be portapotties located outside in our fenced area for the government vehicles. No one will be allowed to go home because of the inconvenience of closed restrooms. And if it continues, flextime will be reduced so that the times people are here are more concentrated. (That's futile, as the times of the backups seem to indicate sabotage in the middle of the workday. Oh, well.) The interior security cameras will be turned to watch the restroom doors--but as this isn't an instantaneous cause-and-effect, I don't think that will help either. Oh, and the Inspector General has been notified, and IG personnel will be visiting the office and interviewing people to try to find the perp.

So, no dead bodies in the sewer yet, but if this keeps up and the person is identified, the rest of the office personnel might try to stuff him down it.
Tags: bujold, work

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