When Airplane Toilets Malfunction
Hey, who wants to read an article with the phrases "blackish-green liquid" and "excrement had leaked out?" How about a version with "some black liquid, black oil came off on her face" and "there was quarter-sized, nickel-sized, dime-sized drops all over"? No one? Then allow us to summarize.
A Long Island couple was enjoying the unusually mild Northeastern winter we've been having by spending the evening on their deck. Their otherwise idyllic lounging was disrupted by black semi-liquid sludge that came falling from the sky on top of them, and which turned out to be incompletely frozen waste dropped by an overhead airplane.
According to the local CBS affiliate, they "want answers" as to why this happened to them (apparently they're not satisfied by the idea that the universe just wanted to make a cosmic punchline out of them that day). Money quote: "She says 'oh my God itís raining' I said 'No itís not'". Can you imagine?
It turns out that there are two kinds of airplane bathrooms. Older airplanes have a "closed waste system," where you flush and some liquid sweeps things into an on-board sewage tank. Newer planes use a "vacuum waste system," where a difference in air pressure between the cabin and the outside is created, which is then used to pull the waste into the on-board sewage tank. You'll notice that in both cases the waste is supposed to stay on the airplane until it can be disposed of by ground crews.
The problem is that sometimes the tanks themselves develop leaks, creating "blue ice." Sometimes the blue ice stays on the outside of the airplane. Sometimes it falls to the ground. This time it fell the ground. Opps.
Oh and by the way, don't feel the need to thank us for this story. We know you're grateful, and you're welcome.
[Photo: glenmcbethlaw / Flickr]