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Sewage issues plague A's ballpark in run up to playoffs

Posted September 19, 2013

KTVU and AP Wires OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics dealt with another sewage problem Tuesday night, this time in their dugout instead of the clubhouse area and nearby hallway that saw a backup months before. During the later innings during a game at O.Co Coliseum Tuesday night, some players reported foul smells from the bathroom-end of their dugout, while infielder Jemile Weeks said there was “a good amount” of water being cleaned out of the area during the team's 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels. “The maintenance crew ran out there. Cleaned it up and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible,” said A’s fan Laurena Jowe. “I saw them running over there with a mop and a snake.” Stadium management told KTVU Wednesday that a faulty sensor on the automatic toilet in the A's dugout caused it to overflow. “The sensors kept setting off, because there were people in there. It kept flowing water so they just turned the water off,” said David Rinetti, Vice President of Stadium Operations at O.Co Coliseum. A similar incident at the coliseum occurred back in June, after a clogged pipe caused a sewage backup and flooding on the bottom floor of the ballpark that sent the Seattle Mariners and A's scrambling around in towels and heading for higher ground in the Oakland Raiders' locker room. After a hazmat crew inspected the affected areas for E-coli, new carpeting and other work was done in the hallway between clubhouses, and cleanup in the umpires’ room. At the time, coliseum officials claimed six straight home games, which attracted an estimated 170,000 fans, overloaded the plumbing. On Wednesday, officials told KTVU that the incidents were not related. “We're in an old facility and things happen. And we continue to work through them,” said Rinetti. Maintenance workers at the ballpark told KTVU that crews had ripped up the carpet that used to cover stairs leading to the visitor's locker room the week before, and as of Wednesday afternoon, a small but steady stream of water continued to drip down the staircase.. “We're 22 feet below sea level, so there's a lot of water in the ground. We have water issues all the time down on that level,” said Rinetti. Sewage problems were not the only issues coliseum maintenance crews were working through Wednesday, as the team continues to make its way to the playoffs for a second year in a row. The team, who continues to lead the AL West, sold out the normal Coliseum seating for the playoffs so fast Tuesday they have decided to open up additional seating in the third deck view level by removing the tarps over those sections. All three home playoff games with the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 AL division series sold out, and Oakland's raucous crowds provided quite the home-field advantage. “Tampa Bay and us should be attracting more attendance, but something is wrong, perhaps the market, or the venue or something,” Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff said in an email Tuesday night to the Associated Press. “I was hoping that the stretch run would draw sellouts or close to sellouts. We have excellent reception to the playoff games and I will open the tarps for those games if we are in the playoffs, as I anticipate we will be.” With approximately 12,000 extra seats available — which includes space for overflow media — the capacity will go from 35,067 to 48,146. That doesn't include the highest Mt. Davis section, the fourth level on the ballpark's east side. However many wonder will the added amount of people cause yet another sewage problem as it did last night. “We are at an older park. Like the team, we are always kinda considered the underdog and there hasn't been a lot of attention put into the coliseum,” said Jowe.