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White Elephant Sanctuary: Seattle's Pricey Public Toilets Find A Home In Thurston County

In 2004, the city of Seattle installed five, high-tech, self-cleaning public toilets at a cost of $5 million. The toilets -- which opened at the push of a button disinfected themselves automatically -- were hailed as public service that would need little in extra staff hours to maintain.

It didn't turn out exactly like that.

The toilets didn't work as expected. And the most frequent users were junkies who liked the privacy the units offered. Four years after they were purchased and installed, the city sold the toilets at a steep loss on eBay. 

Years later, Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzerwondered, 'What ever happened to Seattle's expensive, public sanitation mistake?' And here's what he found near a dirt race track in Thurston County on the property of ButchBehn, a former garbage hauler.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.