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The shutdown stinks: overflowing portable toilets leave visitors holding their noses

On the National Mall, the Park Service had contractors install temporary johns, but they're now overloaded and filthy.

The partial government shutdown literally stinks.

On the National Mall, porta-potties are overflowing – and indoor bathrooms are locked up tight.

Visitors are holding their noses and taking the plunge.

After the long holiday weekend, some of the porta-potties were too disgusting to even show on TV. 

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A crew from contractor United Site Services was racing around in a failing effort to keep up with demand.

"I’ve got to go to the bathroom. Otherwise, I’m picking a tree out. I can’t hold it any longer," said Todd Morrison, who was so desperate, he plunged right in.

His wife couldn’t believe it was this bad. 

“It was really, really gross,” said Sally Morrison, holding tight to her two daughters.

This is the Morrison's first trip to Washington from their home in Kansas City. They can scarcely believe the dysfunction. 

“I didn’t go in," said young Melanie Morrison. She thought it was just too smelly.

There are indoor toilets at the Lincoln. But they’re shuttered by the shutdown. The Park Service was able to get a contractor to bring in the portables before sending its workers home on what is for now unpaid leave.

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“El odor,” said one foreign tourist, who thought the stench and back up made the U.S. seem like a third world country.

With no gates, and almost all the monuments outdoors, the Park Service spokesman said we can still enjoy America’s front yard. But the stench coming from the toilets is perhaps a good metaphor for the state of our politics.

“Get back to work. Get back to work," said Todd Morrison to the politicians. "We need to go to the bathroom.”

Lots of people think the Mall already has too few restrooms. A few overloaded portable toilets is only going to make the situation even harder to deal with.

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