Q&A with a custodian: John Berney

Custodian Supervisor John Berney walks down concrete stairs near the student section bleachers at Martin Stadium on Monday. Berney talks about his cleaning experiences before, during and after home games.

JACOB MOORE, Former Evergreen sports editor

Q What is a typical game day like for you?

A “It can be very hectic. The custodial staff plays a small role making sure the buildings are ready for game day and keeping up with the stadium restrooms during the game and the cleaning of the restrooms after the game. It makes it hard because there’s just so many people around, and you still have assigned areas to do but if you work in the gyms [for example], you don’t have the power to do it because you can’t work around that many people … you have constant traffic in and out of the buildings, so, it’s hectic.”

Q Do you get a chance to watch any of the home football games?

A “No, if you are working, you will stay busy.”

LUKE HOLLISTER | The Daily Evergreen
Berney talks about some challenges he has faced while cleaning up restrooms at Martin Stadium.

Q What’s something that most people don’t know about your job?

A “What it takes to clean up after a crowd. It will take three to four custodians at least two hours to get a stadium restroom clean for the next home game. We want the stadium restrooms [in] the best [condition] for all who attend the games. You have to be able to come in and know that you’re going to be running and doing your job and the next day, you’re going to come back and face the same thing.”

Q What are some of the worst things you’ve seen as a custodian?

A“I’ve been here for 20 years and I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen stuff from human waste being played with, put on a piece of cardboard to spit on walls.”

Q Do you have to cleanup any vomit at the home games?

A “Yes, vomit does become part of clean up during and after [home games]. They take two custodians out of every group — they have to have one male and one female and they cover each section of the stadium’s restrooms and some of them are worse than others.”

Q What’s the worst part about cleaning up after a game?

A “The cleanup of people getting sick at times, it can be real bad on walls, floors and toilets. We use a product, called D’Vour, which helps conceal and cover the smell. We just pour this on the vomit, and it absorbs it and the smell, too. That’s become a big advantage now, but you still have to deal with vomit.”

LUKE HOLLISTER | The Daily Evergreen
Berney says that he’s been working for Custodial Services at WSU for over 20 years and enjoys his job.

Q There’s been talk of selling alcohol in the stadium. What are your thoughts?

A“I know times are hard but I see problems. [Who] is going to stop a friend [from] buying for underage [drinkers]? Who makes the cutoff of having too many [drinks]? Will more security be necessary? We already find at least 20 to 30 air travel bottles in restrooms. Some show up already with too much to drink, and there will be more people getting sick.”