How Does a Porta Potty Work?

June 24, 2021 5:07 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Porta potties are a necessity on construction sites and at large festivals and can be a beacon of hope for weary travelers in unfamiliar territory. But once the business is done in a porta potty, where does the business eventually go? How does a porta potty work?

There are a few different styles of porta potties, from basic, plastic structures with a pit toilet to fancy trailers with running water and multiple rooms. Though they may look and feel different to use, at the end of the day, all of them have the same basic functionality.

Whether you’re talking about a decorated portable powder room at a posh wedding or graffitied plastic hut at a construction site, all porta potties have something in common with how they work. Every porta potty’s main job is to provide a receptacle for human waste. This means that every porta potty will eventually need to be emptied, washed and sterilized.

What’s in the pit?

Porta potties that do not flush are the most common style. These basic units are basically a pit toilet, but that pit is not empty to begin with. A fresh porta potty like this has a chemical cocktail ready to break down waste and cover up unpleasant smells. This often comprises a blue dye to cover up the appearance of waste, a fragrance to cover up the smell and powerful microbes and enzymes that feed on odor-causing bacteria.

In hotter temperatures, the solution is made more powerful to combat the effect of heat intensifying the odors. In freezing temperatures, a brine is made with rock salt to keep it from freezing into a block of ice.

Pump it up

To get rid of the waste, a porta potty needs a septic truck to empty it out—hey, even porta potties need somewhere to get rid of their waste somehow! In this process, a vacuum is connected to the waste storage portion of the porta potty, and the waste is pumped out into the large tank of the septic truck. The truck’s tank is large enough to hold several porta potties’ worth of waste before it must be emptied. In this way, the septic truck is like a porta potty for porta potties!

Dump it out

Once the septic truck’s tank is full, it must be emptied out. To do this, the truck is taken to a waste treatment plant. At the treatment plant, the truck is emptied out, and the waste is broken down with powerful microbes and treated before being processed.

Scrub it down

After the waste from the porta potty is pumped out, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. This dirty job is often done by hand by a real person, so next time you use a porta potty, maybe say a silent “thank you” to whomever has cleaned and will clean that space.

Now that you know how a porta potty works, you may be excited to rent one for your next construction project or large gathering. When you need a portable john, contact Scotties Potties today.

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