Saturday, November 22, 2008

Porta Potty Maintenance: It's a Dirty Job, But Somebody's Gotta Do it

You've seen them at construction sites and outdoor events. You may even have used one. This week, it's time for a tip of the hat to porta potties, and the people who provide them. Particularly Patrick Tucker, the "Pat" in "Porta Potty Pat."

Mr. Tucker has been setting up porta potties in much of Grimm and Reynard Counties for the last ten years. He hadn't planned on going into porta potties when he was in high school. "I sort of fell into it," he told me.

Owning a porta potty service isn't exactly glamorous. "You say ‘hi, I set up porta potties,' and they pull their hand back," Pat recalled.

His product isn't most people's idea of a pleasant spot, either. "You know how it is," Pat told me. "People see a porta potty and think ‘I can wait.'"

"It's the smell, mostly," Pat said. "One of my units can go about a week before needing service. Say I put set it up Monday. By Friday, with about ten guys tramping in and out, it's going to have a real personality."

A lot of what Pat told me was pretty technical: like licensing requirements, having to be sure that 5% of porta potties on a site have to be wheelchair-accessible, and what's involved in that weekly servicing. And, I did some reading at an industry website.

I think I'm developing a sort of respect for the porta potty. And, more to the point, for the people who keep them running.

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