We’ve all heard the phrase “flushing money down the drain’, right? Well in the case of the U.S. Navy, that’s literally happening.
The military branch’s newest technological marvel, the USS Gerald R. Ford, is as top-of-the-line as they come. The ship features nuclear reactors that enable it to travel for a quarter-century without needing to refuel. It can literally toss planes out of the sky with its electro-magnets.
Yet, for all of its marvelous (and expensive) features, none compares to the ship’s toilet system. Despite all of its high-tech features, the ship’s toilet system is so poorly engineered that it requires powerful acid to completely unclog and flush it out.
As for the cost of the acid flush? Well, let’s just say you might think twice about pulling the handle.
It costs approximately $400,000 to complete the acid flush. And it’s not just a one-time ordeal, either.
According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, the toilet system is a serious nightmare for most people to digest:
The effects of more onerous day-to-day maintenance costs are hard to quantify using available Navy data. For example, the Navy used a brand new toilet and sewage system on the CVN 77 and 78, similar to what is on a commercial aircraft, but increased in scale for a crew of over 4,000 people.
To address unexpected and frequent clogging of the system, the Navy has determined that it needs to acid flush the CVN 77 and 78’s sewage system on a regular basis, which is an unplanned maintenance action for the entire service life of the ship.
According to fleet maintenance officials, while each acid flush costs about $400,000, the Navy has yet to determine how often and for how many ships this action will need to be repeated, making the full cost impact difficult to quantify.
The ship holds more than 4,500 sailors and Marines, so that’s a lot of bathroom breaks. With the lifetime costs of running the ship rising to about $123 billion, it’s about time the navy realizes it has a profound pooping problem.
Hopefully the mess hall serves plenty of fibrous fruits and veggies.