Beating the Odds at Marina City Craps

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(Photo: Off the chain at Marina City.)

Last night, Marina City was full of crap. Literally. Barely one month after suffering through three days of water shutoffs in order to replace the 60-story condo complex’s aging high-rise water pumps with new equipment, at least one of the brand-new pumps began to fail yesterday morning. One resident with whom I spoke while leaving for work asked whether I had noticed the water pressure falling on our floor. She said she’d noticed the pressure dropping steadily for more than a week. In retrospect, so did I. But with 40-year-old pipes full of grime and sediment lacing the towers, the first suspicion to come to my mind wasn’t that the new equipment was at fault.

This is, of course, Marina City, and foolish me to expect anything here to live up to expectations instead of down to them. According to our maintenance staff, the problem did lie with the newly installed pumps, necessitating the plumbers to be called in during the day. They came and went, apprently thinking they fixed the problem, and apparently with no notice being given to anyone in the building that a major problem had been averted.

A useful omission, as it turns out, because at midnight water pressure in East Tower began to fall. A lot. Water on the 38th floor emerged from taps in a trickle akin to baby pee from a small and very dehydrated baby. Eventually, showerheads ceased and, more importantly, so did toilets. Well, they didn’t actually cease all activity. When you flushed the auto-flushers were good-natured enough to let out a jaunty — and airy — gurgle, I’m sure brightening the spirits of the 40 floors of residents who could no longer dispose of their fecal matter.

A silver lining might have been to note that the plumbers and the building staff knew about the recurring problem, but according to staff they didn’t. Late-evening complaints of no water from tower residents were what eventually prompted the return of the plumbers. But at 1:00 a.m., with East Tower effectively dry, no word was available from building staff about when water might be back on, if at all. And remember that lack of notice? Well here’s where it actually would have been useful. Telling residents during the day about the water problem would have allowed people to plan for the worst. You may recall we’ve all too frequently been through the worst before. Think: water buckets next to toilets and water-filled pots lining kitchen counters.

Fortunately, by 1:15 a.m. pressure was back in full force. Although regular readers will recall that turning Marina City’s water pressure back up to full force in a short span of time led to February’s widespread flooding problem, risking drowning in your own poo in order to be able to flush it away is one late-night gamble that had a happy payoff last night. But if you live here, you know that luck is rarely a lady at Marina City, where the fickle finger of fate is often found poking some poor shlump in the eye. With that in mind, it’s a safe bet bucketfuls of water will be posted next to more than a few Marina City toilets tonight.

Take those showers in the evening, folks.

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