Seattle sells 5 of its troubled toilets on eBay

July 17, 2008 4:29:33 AM PDT
Seattle's five problem-plagued public toilets could be yours if you're flush.

City officials decided to pull the plug on the multimillion-dollar self-cleaning toilet stalls and instead put them on the auction site eBay.

Starting bids are $89,000 apiece.

Neighbors and city-commissioned analysts said the unisex facilities attracted drug users and prostitutes, and were less cost-effective than regular public restrooms.

On May 19, the City Council voted to remove the problem toilets. Council President Richard Conlin said although people were using the high-tech, self-cleaning silver stalls, they also fostered illegal behavior, such as prostitution and drug use.

The German-made automatic, high-tech toilets were installed in 2004 and have cost the city about $5 million. Each has handsfree washing and drying ability and an emergency button that automatically dials 911.

The automated doors on the impact- and graffiti-resistant toilets will close Aug. 1, said Andy Ryan, a spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities. The auction will last for 10 days.

As of Thursday morning, none of the toilets had received any bids.


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