Upgrading Your Pipes

Flushable Portable Toilet Maintenance: What You Can Expect

For the most part, portable toilets, or "porta-potties," do not need plumbing repairs in the traditional sense. They are usually comprised of a toilet seat installed over a large holding tank that is left open to the air. However, there is a newer type of porta-potty that flushes, which is much healthier and safer for all users because it removes the waste from the receiving bowl and sends it into a securely sealed-off holding tank. These flushable porta-potties do require some maintenance and the occasional repairs from plumbers. Here is what you can expect if your flushable porta-potty needs plumbing help.

Foot-Pump Action

To keep things as hygienic as possible, most flushable porta-potties in the U.S. use a foot pump lever to flush the toilets. This removes the unpleasant factor of dozens of fecal and urine bacteria and viruses transferred to a handle in the porta-potty where anyone else can pick up these bacteria or viruses. If the toilet is not flushing properly, a plumber is called to examine the foot pump, hoses, water tank and compressed air tank. 

Each of these parts is responsible for the flushing of the toilet. When you step on the pedal, two hoses within the toilet send a mix of chemicals and water into the bowl with compressed air. This shoves the waste down the trap door of the toilet and out of sight into the holding tank. Ergo, if the waste does not move, the plumber has to check all of the previously mentioned parts to make sure they are working. Then the plumber replaces or fixes the parts that are not working or not working correctly.

Too Much Waste

While a flushable porta-potty is so much more hygienic than a standard portable toilet, it does not last forever. Because it requires extra room for a water tank and a compressed air tank, there is less room for the waste holding tank. If the waste in the bowl does not move and nothing else appears wrong with the parts, the plumber will check the levels of waste in the holding tank. If the holding tank is full (which can happen more rapidly because of less space), then the holding tank needs to be pumped out or the bowl will not empty into the holding tank. This should be addressed right away, since the more waste you add to the bowl, the less likely the flushing mechanism will work, and then the waste has to be removed either manually or with a pump truck.