Bad timing. In the middle of exams, while the TU Delft Library is open longer, the staff toilets are closed.
Maria Teixeira and her colleagues make sure that the toilets are clean and fresh. (Photos: Marjolein van der Veldt)

Bad timing. In the middle of exams, while the TU Delft Library is open longer, the staff toilets are closed.

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When the first toilets in the back office of the Library were closed more than a week ago, it did not look as if there was anything serious going on. Blocked drains happen. But it transpired that there really was something amiss. More than one and a half weeks later the toilets are still out of use.

Since then staff and students have been using the same toilets next to the Coffee Star. Overload, especially as the Library is chock-a-block full of cramming students. There are now long queues at peak times.

IMG-20200120-WA0007.jpgThis is more than just a blocked drain...

Toilet attendantTo make sure that the hygiene standards are maintained, the toilets are being cleaned more frequently. And since last Friday there is even a full-time toilet attendant. A luxury, say two female students. They have not noticed that the toilets are extra busy – it’s always busier during exam periods. But they do think that the extra cleaning is heel relaxt’ – very relaxed.

One of the toilet attendants is Maria Teixeira. She has worked for TU Delft for 24 years and takes her new, temporary job extremely seriously. Her response to the question if she’s glad that she can sit down once in a while, is one of surprise. “Sit down? I check even more often that it’s clean and smells fresh. That’s really important!” she says, almost sternly.

Teixeira herself is happy with this solution. “The last few days were quite stressful. I had to combine the cleaning of the offices at the back of the building with cleaning these toilets. I’m glad to now only have this to do.” She ‘measures’ the increased toilet usage in the number of toilet rolls. “I usually use one bale (about 40 rolls) a day for these toilets. We’re now easily going through two.”

She dashes back and forth impatiently, the cleaning agent spray in her hand. Well OK then, one last question. What is the best thing about this temporary job? Teixeira beams. “The compliments I occasionally get about how clean they are. That makes me very happy.”

Extended by popular demandAt the moment there is no end in sight. An email from the Library project manager Linda Heemskerk to the ‘affected’ staff members, talks about cracks in various places in the pipes caused by subsidence. “The subsidence is being repaired and parts of the pipes are being replaced. Other problem areas can only be detected by more digging. This means that it is impossible to say when the toilets will be ready for use again.”

The building manager has made some amusing posters to try to make the best of a bad situation. Indeed, the situation has been extended because of popular demand.