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Portable toilets a "House for the receiving of human waste" and often referred to as Porta Potties (American English), or Porta Loos (UK), are simple portable enclosures containing a chemical toilet which are typically used as a temporary toilet for construction sites or large gatherings because of their durability and convenience. Most portable toilets have black open-front U-shaped toilet seats with a cover. They are often constructed out of lightweight molded plastic. The modern plastic portable toilet has been manufactured since the 1960s.
Portable toilets are large enough for a single occupant, usually about 90 cm (35 in) square by 210 cm (83 in) high. While the units are typically free standing structures, their stability is augmented by the weight of the waste tank, which usually contains an empty liquid disinfectant dispenser and deodorizer. Some include both a seated toilet and a urinal. Most include lockable doors, ventilation near the top, and a vent pipe for the holding tank. When wind is blowing over the vent pipe it creates a low pressure area sucking the odor out. Leaving the toilet lid open will reverse the flow of the venting of the tank.
- Total Weight: 90 kg - 110 kg
- Total Width : 1166 mm
- Total Depth : 1215 mm
- Total Height : 2316 mm
- Door Height : 1975 mm
- Door Width : 639 mm
Newer models include toilet paper and, occasionally, antibacterial hand sanitizer dispensers. It has become common for portable toilets to be paired with an internal hand washing station. These sink stations provide a foot pump to dispense water to wash one's hands after using the toilet. Soap and towels may be provided.
Another common pairing are portable toilets on trailers known commonly as a "portable toilet trailer". These trailers are typically found in 1-2 toilet configurations with a hand wash ability using either a hand washing station or a plastic barrel full of water. These trailers are often seen on agricultural fields or at road construction sites. These restrooms are ideal for situations where the workers (users) are very mobile. However this configuration has proven problematic, most modern portable toilet waste tank designs have proven inadequate to deal with the common problem of splash-outs from the waste holding tank while being towed down bumpy roads. Also when being towed the high winds blow in from the vents creating a hurricane effect inside ejecting any toilet paper rolls from the portable toilet if it's not secured.
'Luxury' portable toilets also exist. These are typically conventional domestic plumbing fixtures within a portakabin-like structure. They are typically mounted on large "office-like" trailers or made from converted shipping containers. They contain every amenity that a public bathroom would have such as running water, flushing toilet, stalls, urinals, mirrors, lighting, and even air conditioning and hot water in some cases. However these luxuries come at a price as these trailers typically cost 40x more than a typical portable toilet to buy or rent. They are commonly found at weddings, high end events/charities, and movie shoots.
Portable Toilets use a smell reducing chemical (deodorizer) in the holding tank. This chemical is typically blue so that when it interacts with enough urine & feces it turns green. This green color is an indication that the chemicals are no longer effective in preventing odors.
In most states a formaldehyde (embalming fluid) based chemical is used to neutralize odors; this method of deodorizing the portable toilet has proven very effective. The formaldehyde based chemical interferes with the bacteria in portable toilets, these bacteria release odorous gas when breaking down waste. A notable exception to the formaldehyde based formula is California who has banned the use of this chemical in portable toilets, RV's and the like because it interferes with their sewage plant operations. A much more environmentally friendly enzyme is used to break down the waste while releasing a fragrance. This enzyme does not prevent the bacteria from breaking down waste but actually helps break down waste itself. Because it doesn't directly deal with the cause of foul portable toilet odors its much less effective than the traditional formaldehyde based solution.
A much older form of portable toilet chemical is Lye. Lye was used during the old "wooden outhouse days" to prevent odors. After a person is done using the portable toilet they would grab a bit of lye and sprinkle it into the holding tank.
Use in outdoor advertising
Another recent innovation in the portable toilet arena is their use as a form of outdoor advertising. Some advertisers wrap portable toilets with vinyl material similar to that commonly used on cars and buses. The graphic wraps are intended to catch the attention of potential customers waiting in line to use the toilet.
Though more expensive than a standard permanent outdoor latrine, portable toilets have several significant benefits mostly related to their portability as they are self-contained they can be placed almost anywhere. They are rented to customers by companies that guarantee their cleanliness, and so as a rule are drained, cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized on a regular basis. It's typically cheaper to rent a portable toilet than to hire a janitorial service to clean the restrooms on a weekly basis.As they are not plumbed, they do not clog. A single portable toilet can be hauled in the back of a pick-up truck, and some corporations, such as Paccar Inc, manufacture special trucks for this purpose. An average portable toilet is able to hold enough sewage for 10 people during the course of a 40 hour work week before the hold reaches unsanitary conditions.
Because portable toilets are not plumbed they keep the waste inside the bathroom, this can lead to a sewage smell if the portable toilet is not cleaned properly or is over used. It's also seen as an eye sore to most communities, some of which prohibit the use of a portable toilet without special permission from the city or municipality.
They are frequently seen at outdoor work sites, particularly construction sites, farms, ranches, camp sites and large banks of dozens of portable toilets allow for ready sanitation at large gatherings such as outdoor music festivals. Several portable toilets arranged in these large banks are referred to as a 'sitting' of portable toilets.
Portable Sanitation Europe Ltd was formed in 2000, and originally had just 30 members. Membership is divided into Service Operator Members and Supplier Members.
Operator Members of PSE provide all types of portable toilet and sanitation units to both the construction and event industries in virtually all parts of the UK and Ireland. All units supplied by members of PSE are recognised as being of the highest standard in the industry. To comply with PSE Terms and Conditions of Membership, Operator Members must offer quality of back up and service in compliance with PSE guidelines.
A number of PSE Supplier Members manufacture and supply all types of portable toilet units, urinals, trailer mounted mobile toilets, welfare units, jack leg toilets and shower blocks in the UK, Ireland the EU and to other parts of the world. In addition there are Supplier Members that are specialist manufacturers or distributors of a wide variety of toilet additives and associated cleaning and maintenance products.
PSE and its members actively promote ‘Best Practice’ throughout the portable sanitation industry and in order to support this policy PSE has instigated the National Sanitation Qualification scheme for quality assurance.
Health and Safety Legislation in the UK is of major importance to the portable toilet and sanitation industry and PSE members play their part is ensuring that legislation is adhered to. PSE Members fully comply with all current British legislation and PSE has established good contacts with HSE and has even advised HSE on various aspects of Health and Safety legislation.
For many years, the portable toilet industry has operated in the construction industry applying a ratio of one toilet for every ten site workers. This has now been changed by the introduction of a new British Standard after co-operation from a member of PSE’s Committee of Management. The revised BS standard that PSE members comply with is now one toilet to every seven site workers.
The UK event industry is governed by adherence to The Event Safety Guide (The Purple Book) which after a number of years is currently under review. PSE has already re-written Chapter 14, the Sanitation section of the guide, and the revised guide should be published soon.
PSE and its members have been recognised by many local and national organisations as being the leaders in portable toilet and sanitation provision, and the level of this recognition will continue to increase as the association grows still further
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- Beautiful loos to enhance your venue or event. IGLOOS. Retrieved on 2010-09-29.
- InHouse – Home. Inhousellc.net. Retrieved on 2010-09-29.
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