Portable toilets are movable, modern and fully equipped outhouse set ups mostly made of molded plastic. They come in a variety of types and colors and are used as temporary toilets at construction sites, event venues or large gatherings. Some of the leading brands of the world that manufacture portable toilets include Porta-John, PortaJane, Johnny On The Spot, Port-O-Let, Port-a-Loo, Porta-Potty, Tidy John, John To Go, Biffs, and Toi-Toi.
Most types of portable toilets are good enough for use by a single occupant. Most common type of portable toilet measures about 90 cm (3 ft) on a side by 210 cm (7 ft). The commonly available portable toilet units are free standing structures, while their stability is taken care by the weight of the waste collection tank that generally contain a liquid disinfectant dispenser and deodorizer. Certain types feature both a seated toilet and a urinal. Most portable toilets also have lockable doors, air vent fixed near the top, and also a pipe vent for the tank. The plumbing arrangement in these set ups make it possible to reverse the flow by leaving the toilet lid open.
Some of the recent models come with toilet paper and antiseptic hand gel dispensers. Nowadays, it is very common to see portable toilets combined with a mobile hand washing unit. These units usually feature a foot pump to dispense water for washing hands after using toilets. They may also provide soaps and towels.
Portable toilets are normally more expensive than the conventional permanent outdoor latrine. However, portable toilets have some added advantages mostly in terms of their portability. There are firms that rent out portable toilets to their customers with a guarantee to their cleanliness. Therefore, these rental units are well-maintained, disinfected, drained, cleaned, and deodorized regularly. Since these are not plumbed, chances for them to get clogged are almost negative. A single portable toilet unit can be easily hauled in a pick-up truck. A commonly available type of portable toilet can store enough sewage as a result of usage by about 10 people over a 40 hour work week before the hold reaches a point when it has to be cleaned.
One of the main disadvantages of portable toilets is that they might unpredictably shift if the surface where they are installed is not plain. Sometimes, mischievous people might sometimes resort to shaking the portable toilet units to shock the person using it. Portable toilets can be seen at outdoor work stations, especially construction sites. Large numbers of portable toilet units enable ready sanitation facility at big gatherings like outdoor events and festivals.
There are also a number of Luxury portable toilet models that are generally conventional type domestic plumbing fixtures fixed within a portable cabin.
Portable Toilets: Facts and Figures
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is the most common material used in the manufacturing of portable toilet cabins. This is recyclable and guarded from UV rays. The other advantages of this material are its robust and strong nature in addition to its light weight that is highly suitable for portability.
The most common types of portable toilet units available today feature a translucent roof enabling the entry of natural light. Thus the users can be assured of an illumination of about 400 lux. On the three sides of the toilet at the junction of the roof and the panels there are air vents, generally three in number for each of these sides.
Usually, the average weight of a portable toilet unit weighs somewhere from 85 to 100 kilograms depending on the type. The capacity of the waste tank attached to the unit ranges from 175 liters to 300 liters varying from model to model. Depending on the model of the toilet, about 75 to 150 people or even more can use it without cleaning or evacuation.
Cleaning the portable toilets is a simple process. The toilet cabins are generally free units that do not require to be connected to septic tank or sewer line and therefore need to be cleaned on regular intervals with the help of a vacuum driven system using the services of a provider in cities. However, availing the exclusive services of a provider requires purchasing about 30 toilets.
The waste water tanks of portable toilets come in various capacities. Before the units are used, an eco friendly biochemical additive is added to the waste water storage tank to help in considerably degenerating the solid waste.
Also, the bio chemical liquid used in the tanks has a cherry or mint aroma to maintain the pristine condition of the unit. The chemical used is completely bio degradable and proved with features that are not harmful to the environment, treatment plant where the waste is disposed and to the drainage system. Over and above, this is manufactured in compliance with the international waste regulations and is free of formaldehyde.
The cleaning service comprises a tank for waste collection mounted on a vehicle attached to a vacuum pump that empties the waste from the unit besides cleaning the toilet with fresh water with the help of a high pressure jetting system. The cost of cleaning is minimum while there are also providers who offer annual maintenance contracts.
There are three different types of tanks used in portable toilet units namely drop tanks, re-circulating tanks and fresh water tanks. A drop tank is an open tank that does not have any frills. This type of units is best useful for construction sites and roads. This system does not feature a flushing facility and the waste contents are just dropped to the bottom of the tank. This unit can store up to 100 liters of water. This water cannot be used to flush the toilets, but only used for washing. Re-circulating tanks are useful to save water. The re-circulating system in the unit enables the continual reuse of the water available for flushing the waste. After every flush, a bio-chemical is added, which turns it blue.
The Re-circulating tank is a water saver. In this tank, fresh water (about 10-20 liters) is run into the waste tank. The bio-chemical is then added to this water, which turns it blue. After this, the unit once again gets ready for reuse. Once the solid waste settles down the clean water is left on top once again available for flush every time the toilet is used. After a certain number of uses, the water is let out and fresh water is once again let in to the system. The third type of tank namely the fresh water flush functions exactly like the conventional flush type toilets. A separate water tank is attached to the unit that supplies fresh water during every flush, when the fresh water flows in the cistern, cleans the toilet bowl and settles down in the waste collection tank. Unlike the re-circulating tank, in this type the waste and the flush water are not reused. The portable toilet units can also be attached to the existing flushing systems at homes. Plumbing connections to supply fresh water to the units are also possible. If required, these units can also be connected to existing septic tanks or sewer lines.
Portable toilets are advantageous in the sense that they can be installed almost at anywhere. They prove to be a boon to those places where it is a must to provide a good sanitation while there is no access to septic tanks or drainage lines. Portable toilets are ideal for events including marriages, festivals, yatras, entertainment shows, concerts, public rallies and election campaigns and for places like crowded streets, shopping malls, outdoor events, camps, construction sites, tourist places, parks, highways and beaches.
Talking of the types of portable toilets available today, they can be classified under six principal heads. Flushing no mains portable toilet is ideal for places where drains and flush water are not available, whereas a flushing toilet is needed. This type also comes attached with hot hand washing facility for washing hands alone. The third type namely mains toilet with hot hand washing is useful for connecting to mains water and drainage. The fourth type namely wheel chair accessible toilets feature enough internal space for the use of wheelchair users. There are also street urination toilets that offer portable toilet facilities at busy streets. The sixth one is a commercial type called as luxury mobile trailer toilet, which is meant for mass usage during special occasions.