A lightning strike to a septic tank blew up a Florida couple's toilet over the weekend, sending shards of porcelain and who-knows-what into the bathroom wall.
The couple were still in bed when the lightning struck, igniting a build-up of methane gas in the tank and blowing out parts of the windows.
For those used to the joys of urban sewers, a septic tank usually lurks outside a property and treats domestic wastewater. While the tank can do some basic treatment of sewage, the resultant sludge needs to be periodically pumped out. The things are quite common in rural areas that lack a sewerage system.
In this case, methane gas generated by the processes in the tank ignited, causing the toilet off the master bedroom to explode and "sending porcelain airborne like a missile", according to the plumbers, doubtless rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of replacing all the pipework in the property.
Speaking to USA Today, Jordan Hagadorn, owner of A-1 Affordable Plumbing, said that the lid of the septic tank had been blown off and that the "sanitary pipe is completely gone". He suggested that the short distance beneath the surface of the tank was likely a contributory factor.
He added that the toilet terror was probably "a first in plumbing history".
We're not so sure about that. Exploding crap containers are very much a thing if their upkeep is neglected. A failure to incorporate ventilation into the design coupled with poor maintenance can result in a build-up of gas, according to UK-based specialists Express Drainage Solutions.
Add an ignition source such as a carelessly tossed cigarette or, say, a lightning strike and >foom<.
Worried septic tank-owning Floridians were advised by Hagadorn to keep their legs crossed during storms and avoid perching atop the potentially deadly thrones to avoid an unplanned porcelain penetration event. ®