|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||airport : den.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : dca.tower|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||B737-500|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||ground : preflight|
ground : parked
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 200|
flight time total : 14000
flight time type : 800
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
non adherence : company policies
non adherence : published procedure
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : detected after the fact|
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
Maintenance Human Performance
|Primary Problem||Maintenance Human Performance|
We arrived in den from pit at the gate and were scheduled to turn with the same aircraft to bwi. About 20 mins prior to pushback; the flight attendants called me and said the lavatories were overflowing with blue water into the cabin. I left the cockpit and went down onto the ramp to find the lavatory service truck. It was parked behind and to the left of the aircraft and was not connected to the aircraft. I noticed that blue water was flowing out of my aft drain mast. I told the driver that he had overfilled the lavatories and that there was blue water in my aircraft cabin. He did not fully comprehend what I was saying and instead focused on the blue water flowing onto the ramp. I went back into the aircraft. I told my first officer to call ramp control and tell them what was going on and ramp services. The purser had already called on the jetway telephone to inform cabin service of the problem. I sent an ACARS mrm code for the problem and then called dispatch and asked for a phone patch to maintenance. I then discussed the problem with them. I then called my chief pilot and waste water was cleaned up and the aircraft inspected; and two; that the bio-hazard/osha issue would be properly addressed. The first issue was taken care of by maintenance but the second issue remained in constant flux. I called dispatch and asked to be patched into the duty manager and talked to him several times; but never received a comfortable feeling about the issue. It was only later that after calling dispatch and told them I wanted to talk to a whq safety representative who could talk about bio hazard/osha issues because I was not satisfied this was being adequately looked at and I wasn't sure that the fodm understood what I wanted; that I received a call from the real fodm. I am not sure who exactly I had been talking to (I was told it was the maintenance duty manager); but the fodm was immediately responsive and on top of the situation and he called to whq safety. About this time I received a call from zone who informed me that they had found a new aircraft for me. I took my crew and proceeded to that aircraft. The new aircraft had also been overfilled but not to the extent that my original aircraft had been and the spill was confined to the lavatory area and had been cleaned and disinfected. We departed for bwi several hours late. 2 issues surfaced during this event that I believe need to be addressed and resolved. First; when a pilot asks dispatch to talk to the duty manager; we assume they know we mean the flight operations duty manager. This is partly my fault; I should have been detailed and specific as to which of the hundreds of duty mgrs available I wanted to speak to. I thought it would be a given. Second; there appears to be a breakdown at the domicile level as to how to respond to bio-hazard/osha issues. There is no doubt in my mind that had maintenance not required an inspection of the inner skin of the aircraft to be accomplished to insure all of the corrosive blue water had been removed; that they would have tried to dispatch me on an aircraft that I felt was contaminated and there was not a bio-hazard trained expert available to me (at least none I was made aware of) to review the situation.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A B737-500 HAS THE LAVATORY OVERSVCED AND THE LAVATORY FLUID HAS OVERFLOWED INTO THE BILGE AND CABIN. THE FLT CREW IS CONCERNED WITH THE AIRWORTHINESS OF THE ACFT.
Narrative: WE ARRIVED IN DEN FROM PIT AT THE GATE AND WERE SCHEDULED TO TURN WITH THE SAME ACFT TO BWI. ABOUT 20 MINS PRIOR TO PUSHBACK; THE FLT ATTENDANTS CALLED ME AND SAID THE LAVATORIES WERE OVERFLOWING WITH BLUE WATER INTO THE CABIN. I LEFT THE COCKPIT AND WENT DOWN ONTO THE RAMP TO FIND THE LAVATORY SVC TRUCK. IT WAS PARKED BEHIND AND TO THE L OF THE ACFT AND WAS NOT CONNECTED TO THE ACFT. I NOTICED THAT BLUE WATER WAS FLOWING OUT OF MY AFT DRAIN MAST. I TOLD THE DRIVER THAT HE HAD OVERFILLED THE LAVATORIES AND THAT THERE WAS BLUE WATER IN MY ACFT CABIN. HE DID NOT FULLY COMPREHEND WHAT I WAS SAYING AND INSTEAD FOCUSED ON THE BLUE WATER FLOWING ONTO THE RAMP. I WENT BACK INTO THE ACFT. I TOLD MY FO TO CALL RAMP CTL AND TELL THEM WHAT WAS GOING ON AND RAMP SVCS. THE PURSER HAD ALREADY CALLED ON THE JETWAY TELEPHONE TO INFORM CABIN SVC OF THE PROB. I SENT AN ACARS MRM CODE FOR THE PROB AND THEN CALLED DISPATCH AND ASKED FOR A PHONE PATCH TO MAINT. I THEN DISCUSSED THE PROB WITH THEM. I THEN CALLED MY CHIEF PLT AND WASTE WATER WAS CLEANED UP AND THE ACFT INSPECTED; AND TWO; THAT THE BIO-HAZARD/OSHA ISSUE WOULD BE PROPERLY ADDRESSED. THE FIRST ISSUE WAS TAKEN CARE OF BY MAINT BUT THE SECOND ISSUE REMAINED IN CONSTANT FLUX. I CALLED DISPATCH AND ASKED TO BE PATCHED INTO THE DUTY MGR AND TALKED TO HIM SEVERAL TIMES; BUT NEVER RECEIVED A COMFORTABLE FEELING ABOUT THE ISSUE. IT WAS ONLY LATER THAT AFTER CALLING DISPATCH AND TOLD THEM I WANTED TO TALK TO A WHQ SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE WHO COULD TALK ABOUT BIO HAZARD/OSHA ISSUES BECAUSE I WAS NOT SATISFIED THIS WAS BEING ADEQUATELY LOOKED AT AND I WASN'T SURE THAT THE FODM UNDERSTOOD WHAT I WANTED; THAT I RECEIVED A CALL FROM THE REAL FODM. I AM NOT SURE WHO EXACTLY I HAD BEEN TALKING TO (I WAS TOLD IT WAS THE MAINT DUTY MGR); BUT THE FODM WAS IMMEDIATELY RESPONSIVE AND ON TOP OF THE SIT AND HE CALLED TO WHQ SAFETY. ABOUT THIS TIME I RECEIVED A CALL FROM ZONE WHO INFORMED ME THAT THEY HAD FOUND A NEW ACFT FOR ME. I TOOK MY CREW AND PROCEEDED TO THAT ACFT. THE NEW ACFT HAD ALSO BEEN OVERFILLED BUT NOT TO THE EXTENT THAT MY ORIGINAL ACFT HAD BEEN AND THE SPILL WAS CONFINED TO THE LAVATORY AREA AND HAD BEEN CLEANED AND DISINFECTED. WE DEPARTED FOR BWI SEVERAL HRS LATE. 2 ISSUES SURFACED DURING THIS EVENT THAT I BELIEVE NEED TO BE ADDRESSED AND RESOLVED. FIRST; WHEN A PLT ASKS DISPATCH TO TALK TO THE DUTY MGR; WE ASSUME THEY KNOW WE MEAN THE FLT OPS DUTY MGR. THIS IS PARTLY MY FAULT; I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DETAILED AND SPECIFIC AS TO WHICH OF THE HUNDREDS OF DUTY MGRS AVAILABLE I WANTED TO SPEAK TO. I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GIVEN. SECOND; THERE APPEARS TO BE A BREAKDOWN AT THE DOMICILE LEVEL AS TO HOW TO RESPOND TO BIO-HAZARD/OSHA ISSUES. THERE IS NO DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT HAD MAINT NOT REQUIRED AN INSPECTION OF THE INNER SKIN OF THE ACFT TO BE ACCOMPLISHED TO INSURE ALL OF THE CORROSIVE BLUE WATER HAD BEEN REMOVED; THAT THEY WOULD HAVE TRIED TO DISPATCH ME ON AN ACFT THAT I FELT WAS CONTAMINATED AND THERE WAS NOT A BIO-HAZARD TRAINED EXPERT AVAILABLE TO ME (AT LEAST NONE I WAS MADE AWARE OF) TO REVIEW THE SIT.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of January 2009 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.