February 20, 2013

"The Department of Health determined there was no biohazard threat with a body being inside the water tank."

The body of a woman last seen on January 31st at the Cecil Hotel was discovered yesterday in the hotel's rooftop water tank. Guests were complaining about low water pressure.

How is there "no biohazard threat"? Can anyone explain the science of the health department's assurance?

61 comments:

Pogo said...

At least it wasn't a 32 ounce soda.

That'll kill ya.

traditionalguy said...

Think of it as protein. Dracula does.

At least it wasn't a cruise ship this time.

Pogo said...

She's all natural, so no hazard.

Scott M said...

Even before people understood bacteria and such, wasn't one of the precepts of life making sure there were no dead bodies polluting the water supply, such as after large battles?

I'm a bit confused about this as well. What was the average temp since the end of January? If it was cold enough, I suppose decomp could have been arrested somewhat, but...still, ick.

bagoh20 said...

I thought those tanks on buildings were just for fire fire suppression. Maybe that's why?

Mitchell the Bat said...

Can anyone explain the science of the health department's assurance?

Chlorine is awesome.

F.U. Scott Fitzgerald said...

"Cecil Hotel? He thought it an odd name for a man of such intellect — a scientist nonetheless— whose cool, austere gaze, partially glazed ensconced behind the plastic fenestra of the omnipresent biohazard suit parried the small gesticulations of the terrier-like guests, frenzied in their desires for invigorating steamrollers of fresh water."

edutcher said...

At the end of a massacre, the Indians would throw a dead something (human, animal) down a well to poison it.

Nomennovum said...

How is there "no biohazard threat"? Can anyone explain the science of the health department's assurance?

I don't know, it may defy logic, but I don't care, because I trust the government implicitly, so shut up.

lincolntf said...

"Honey, does the coffee taste a little humany to you?"

bpm4532 said...

Those tanks are for fire suppression, not drinking water or bathing water. The reason is, if there is a fire, the power is likely going out, so pumps won't run. Gravity still works, though, and that's the point.

AllenS said...

Coffee only tastes funny if a clown is discovered in the water tank.

DADvocate said...

It's called CYA. It's the primary concern for most government employees and agencies.

DADvocate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

I would suggest you google "are dead bodies contagious" The answer is no--viruses die shortly after their human host dies, and the bacteria causing decay is not dangerous to humans.

The blanket stories, and other rotting cadavers in water supply have zero basis in fact.

This is really an empirical question and one that is easily answered.

Scott M said...

Coffee only tastes funny if a clown is discovered in the water tank.

lol

No, that's amusing. Funny would be a dead Eddie Izzard in the tank.

EDH said...

"The body of a woman... in the hotel's rooftop water tank."

Can anyone explain the science of the health department's assurance?


The doctor in charge of the health department was Ted Kennedy's physician.

Oso Negro said...

Well, there is the chlorine and all.

Ann Althouse said...

"Those tanks are for fire suppression, not drinking water or bathing water. The reason is, if there is a fire, the power is likely going out, so pumps won't run. Gravity still works, though, and that's the point."

How could the guests experience a loss of water pressure if the were no connection to the taps they were using?

Meade said...

AllenS said...
"Coffee only tastes funny if a clown is discovered in the water tank."

And fishy...

EMD said...

How could the guests experience a loss of water pressure if the were no connection to the taps they were using?

Simple. Inception.

Someone planted the idea of low water pressure into the dreams of the guests in the hotel. Since the targets were all in the same location, implantation with a team of extractors.

EMD said...

... was much more easily accomplished.

ByGollyMark said...

Makes the whole fluoride conspiracy look pretty tame.

Most upsetting to the vegan guests I would think.

On the other hand the fitness minded may appreciate the no charge protein drinks?

I am pretty sure that science works differently for utilities, governments, politicians, advertising and marketing people, lawyers, and poets. For the rest of us I am pretty sure that eating decomposing human tissue is not healthy. (wait . . . I forgot about zombies!)

There is bound to be a soylent green joke in there somewhere . . .

elkh1 said...

Your tooth that the dentist extracted is a biohazard though.

Elementary: the corpse has no teeth.

Paddy O said...

How could the guests experience a loss of water pressure if the were no connection to the taps they were using?

It could be that the guests had a problem, maintenance workers were trying to fix the problem and in doing so found an entirely different and unrelated problem.

Roger J. said...

Eating decomposing flesh (carrion) while yucky in the extreme, poses no significant health risks--recall please that crows, vultures, bears, and many other mammals and birds eat carrion and do not die--in fact for some, it is the mainstay of their diet.

Presumably biology is not longer studied in schools.

bagoh20 said...

Sit down people, enjoy your meal, the arugula is still organic, so no worries.

Darrell said...

The same way that NASA scientists can assure you that the Russian meteorite impacts (and meteor trails seen over Cuba and America) were in no way related to the asteroid that arrived a couple of days later. One would assume that they might have been part of the origianl explosion that sent the particles out in space long ago. Or piece that fell off when affected by the Earth's gravitational field, but no. It was only a coincidence--100%. Right.

Darrell said...

I love the taste and smell of putrescine and cadaverine in the morning. It's reassuring--I won't have to put up with the Democrat Left forever. And people have told me that they "could just drink me up." Here's their chance.

Hagar said...

The water tanks on the roof being there for fire suppression only makes sense.
And anyway, a floating body in the tank (or one of the tanks?) could not in any way affect the pressure, which depends only on the vertical distance between the water surface and the point of measurement for a given rate of flow.
It's a New York reporter picking up a story from L.A. and making a mess of it, I think.

YoungHegelian said...

Since it was a Chinese Canadian floating in the water tank, did any of the guests complain that after drinking from the hotel tap, they were thirsty for a Molsons an hour later?

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

Speaking of eating human dead bodies, that reminds me of the Japanese soldiers on the by-passed by US Fleets Pacific islands who were were ordered by the Emperor's War Lords to never surrender while they slowly starved to death from no resupply.

When the war was over they said that they never feared guerillas or natives. The fear other Japanese soldiers.

A case can be made that the worse war crime in WWII was that starvation to death order given by Tojo to the Japaneses army that ended in 1,300,000 deaths from starvation and the disease that goes with it.

Now why does Obama want to see food growing and transportation done in the USA for 100+ years using carbon based oil fuels to end so he can pretend to to save the world from a trace gas plant food????



Mark said...

Before I clicked the link I knew we were talking about Bloomberg's Health Department.

alan markus said...

The newsclip shows a resident of the hotel stating that they have been advised to not use the water under any circumstances.

Water pressure issue if tanks are fire suppression only? I'm not a plumbing expert, but years ago I had to arrange to have back-flow preventers installed on our water systems for a large residential apartment complex. It had something to do with our hot water boiler system taking on makeup water, and if there was a certain kind of leak in the system, the treated boiler water could become mixed with the domestic water supply. So Paddy O's comment might make sense - might have become a secondary maintenance issue.

Mark said...

Those water tanks do contain water for consumption. An earlier comment posited that they were there because of the utility of gravity to provide water pressure. That happens to be true. But it's also a much more efficient system to provide consistent pressure to all the taps than to try to provide it from ground level on an on-demand basis.

So yeah, those people were drinking Soylent Green tea these past few months.

Mark said...

ByGolly sort of beat me to it.

Levi Starks said...

"no threat"....
No one has died yet...
That's pretty scientific I think.

Mark said...

Not past few months, past few weeks.

Not firing on all cylinders. Time to get a sandwich.

jimbino said...

Prayer, prayer is the answer. All kinds of scientific realities like death and disease can be answered by prayer. Nevermind that prayer itself is not answerable to scientific proof.

Sam L. said...

Obamamedicine.

Paul said...

If no biohazard, then the Dept. of Health can drink the damn water themselves to prove it.

Ann Althouse said...

"many other mammals and birds eat carrion"

Human beings are eating carrion all the time. You wouldn't like a steak that wasn't aged.

Hazy Dave said...

Petticoat Junction!

Also, I think there was a Fawlty Towers where some nitpicky Health inspector found a dead pigeon in the water tank.

And that PBS show about the Ganges river a couple weeks ago.

I don't see a problem.

traditionalguy said...

This is making me hungry. I am going to get lunch now of aged carrion ribeyes with molded blue cheese sauce and an amber ale moldy to perfection.

All that living food of fresh fruit and veggies is not for us type Os .

Leland said...

recall please that crows, vultures, bears, and many other mammals and birds eat carrion and do not die

Really, so a bird's digestive system is exactly like a human's? If a bird can eat carrion, a human can eat carrion; if a bird eats lentils, a human can eat lentils? QED, no health risks?

Tell us more of this biology you speak of for I am but a layman.

victoria said...

Huh?


Vicki from Pasadena

Big Mike said...

How is there "no biohazard threat"? Can anyone explain the science of the health department's assurance?

Bribery, I assume.

First of all, dying humans usually have their anal sphincter muscle open (Pogo and Inga can perhaps confirm?) so there's polution from fecal contamination, and secondly we're talking three weeks in LA, so January or not there has to have been considerable decomp.

Leland said...

dying humans usually have their anal sphincter muscle open

So if a dog eats feces...

SteveR said...

The fire suppression explanation makes the most sense. In most circumstances a hotel would experience no benefit to maintaining a drinking water supply of its own with the responsibility to maintain standards such as disinfection levels (Cl) which typical fall to a municipal water provider.

Mike said...

Since this is a local story for me let me add what witnesses on the scene said:

1. This is an OLD hotel is a horrible part of LA that relies on gravity to supply water to rooms. Yes, these tanks supply drinking water.

2. The longest tenant has lived there 32 years and indicated ruffians usually threw at least one person off the roof per month.

3. The day after the tourist disappeared residents began complaining about poor water pressure in the "community showers" and "common bathrooms" of this "hotel."

4. News reporters who spoke with the deceased family in Canada said she booked the room online because it seemed nice from the listing and was cheap.

Keep #4 in mind if you travel to big cities where there are unsafe areas, of which travelers should BEWARE.

Mike said...

Pardon my syntax and spelling errors. The gist is still visible through the mistakes.

Scott M said...

Keep #4 in mind if you travel to big cities where there are unsafe areas, of which travelers should BEWARE.

Having an app for your phone that helps you navigate around such areas is racist, or so we've been told.

Dante said...

Chlorine.

The chlorination of public drinking supplies was originally met with resistance, as people were concerned about the health effects of the practice. The use of chlorine has greatly reduced the prevalence of waterborne disease as it is effective against almost all bacteria and viruses, as well as amoeba.

wikipedia. My guess is animals are sometimes drowned in reservoirs, but the water is still OK to drink. Plus, the amount of water going through might have been high enough for no buildup, essentially preserving the body.

I thought we just had a post from Ann from an actor about the importance of clean drinking water.

Hagar said...

There is still no way that the body in the tank could have affected the water pressure at the taps.
However, an article of clothing, or her handbag or whatever, may have partially clogged the water outlet on the tank, and that would of course have restricted the flow.

But the photo looks like there are 4 tanks up on that roof?

Hagar said...

Not only do animals drown in reservoirs, but kids stick cats into fire hydrants, and watermains break, and sometimes they are not separated from sanitary sewers or storm drains like they are supposed to be. So they throw another bag of chloride in before they put the line back in service.

TML said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TML said...

Has anyone confirmed that they were potable water containment tanks and not pressure tanks? I can't find anything to clarify in the reports. Sounds like being grisly just because and not asking the right questions. Like when kids believe that muni water towers "store" water. Well, they do, but...oh never mind

Firehand said...

My understanding is that water is pumped to the tanks on the roof, and the building is supplied from them; that lets gravity supply pressure from tank to rooms, and the pump only has to keep the tank topped-off.

Andy Freeman said...

> How is there "no biohazard threat"? Can anyone explain the science of the health department's assurance?

They've got more important things to do.

Health departments (and the CDC) aren't engage in mission creep, they're doing mission leap, from dull boring things like actual disease to fun things like gun control.

You'll notice that the dull things involve controlling fewer people than the fun things.

That's your science, the human will to control others.

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