Sock flushing runs Facilities Services through the wringer

Andrew Sheeler / Sun Star Reporter
April 22, 2011

The phrase “put a sock in it” may have been taken a bit too literally, with more than 100 pairs of socks flushed down toilets in the Fine Arts Complex since December. This has led to an occasional sewer smell that pervades the halls of the building. The sock flushing has caused an estimated $20,000 in damages, and has left Facilities Services (FS) employees baffled as to a reason why.

“We don’t think it’s vandalism,” said Marianne Freelong, FS Customer Service Manager. There is currently no known motive for the sock flushing, but FS employees suspect that it is taking place in the bathrooms found in the lower level of the Fine Arts Complex, near the offices for KUAC. Signs have been placed in bathroom stalls asking that people please not flush socks down the toilet.

The damage is caused when socks go down the drain into the lift station, which pumps the sewage up and out of the building. The socks get caught in the tubes, causing the pump motors to burn out. Bill Cox, FS Superintendent of Maintenance, said that the engines burning out are only part of the problem.

“It’s not [so] much damage to the equipment as it is time [spent making the repairs],” Cox said.

Cox said that he’s seen a variety of odd items flushed down the toilet, including diapers, balls of duct tape, tools and cell phones. When asked if there was anything he would like to add, he said, “Please don’t flush your laundry down the toilet. [It’s] not going to come out cleaner.”


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3 Responses

  1. Jeremy says:

    Sometimes I just really love Journalism.

  2. Elika says:

    Over 100 pairs of socks is a lot of socks. I do not understand this sock-flushing at all.

  1. December 12, 2012

    […] not walk out of there with only one sock on. Socks do not flush well. Just ask the maintenance superintendent at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  The campus’ art building was left malodorous and with a $20,000 fix for habitual sock […]

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