You expect your place of business to have a working bathroom. But 8News has discovered some Richmond City workers have had to use porta-potties for at least two months.
8News Investigative Reporter Kerri O'Brien started looking into this issue after we got a tip from a viewer, telling us workers were frustrated with the porta-potties and feared they are unsanitary.
Imagine going to the office and a porta-potty is the only option. Especially in the sweltering heat we've been facing lately, it sounds awful.
But what might be even more disturbing is what caused the bathrooms to break and the taxpayer money to be flushed down the toilet.
Three porta-potties sit outside the City of Richmond's Street Maintenance Building on North Hopkins Road. Department of Public Works employees are forced to go outside. Signs on the door entrance read, "Use portable toilets, outside restroom closed for repairs." Inside, the men's bathroom is out of order; the door is locked and you can't even get inside.
We tried to ask workers how long they've been without a toilet, but we were asked to leave.
It now appears we should have asked what caused the bathrooms to break:
"Some of our management out there has noticed footprints on those toilets, where it appears as if there are certain employees who actually stand on them and rock back and forth until they not only break the toilets but the pipes in the walls," spokesperson for the Department of Public Works Sharon North told us.
North said someone is standing on the porcelain bowls and it's the third time in little more than a year the toilets have been damaged.
We asked why some employees would be standing on toilets; North told us, "Your guess is as good as mine. We have no idea, we have been talking about it this morning. We can't figure out what is going on, we don't know who is doing it."
Whoever is doing it is flushing taxpayer dollars down the toilet: North tells us the city spend $60,000 last year to renovate the men's room.
"We put in new in new sheet rock, new pipes, sinks, new toilets, the whole sha-bang."
A few months later, the toilets and pipes were ripped apart again. The city made repairs but North told us a couple months ago, the toilets were broken again.
So for now, the men are stuck with the portable toilets. We're told new commodes are on order and should be in by the first or second week of July.
Stay with 8News on air and online for updates on this story.
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