Overlooked Grand Final Heroes – Plumbers!

With a crowd of nearly 100,000 spectators expected to cram the Melbourne Cricket Ground this Saturday for what is obviously one of the biggest annual sporting events in Australia, it puts a large burden on the grounds personnel and infrastructure.

Included in this challenge is the upkeep of the ground’s 546 urinal stalls, 166 individual urinals and 345 toilets. Whilst this may seem daunting, the 3.5 million people who annually pass through the MCG gates during the course of the season provide great training and testing for these bathroom facilities, and give plumbers and curators a great idea of whether or not the lavatories will be able to cope on the last weekend in September.

During the large scale redevelopment and rebuilding of stands earlier this decade, plumbing was also improved.

In recent years, improved crowd control and regulation has ended the outlandishly large crowds on Grand Final Day, such as the enormous 121,696 people who packed the MCG in the 1970 Collingwood v Carlton match. Although people may not drink as much at the football game as back then, facilities and maintenance practices today are still light-years ahead of what they were. This includes a team of plumbers outsourced by the grounds manager who must go to great lengths in preparation for a big event to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Whilst crowd satisfaction is the foremost goal at a large event, in the 21st century the sustainability of a venue must also come into account. One of the ways the MCG attempts to be more eco-friendly is by catching rainwater from the gigantic Northern Stand roof and storing it in a 1.5 million litre tank below gate one.

Even though it is very easy to forget about plumbing when at the footy, it is still amazing how much time, effort and planning must go into managing something as simple as bathrooms, in order for fans to have an enjoyable, comfortable and trouble free day.  

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