Portable toilets, often referred to by trademarked or colloquial names such as port-a-john, port-a-can, port-o-let, sani-privy, port-a-san, porta-potty, toi-toi, chemical can, porta-kybo or portaloo, are modern, portable, self-contained outhouses manufactured of molded plastic or fiberglass. They are available in a variety of colors, and often are used as temporary toilets for outdoor construction sites and large social gatherings (including weddings, protests, footraces and festivals). Large banks of portable toilets are usually seen at public gatherings.
Portable toilets are generally sized to hold one person. Some larger ones are constructed especially for wheelchair users, and others are outfitted as baby diaper changing rooms. Individual units are held upright by the weight of the disinfectant liquid in a holding tank at the bottom, while banks of portable toilets can be arranged to support each other. Nearly all portable toilets include both a seated toilet (commode) and a urinal.. Most include lockable doors, a translucent roof to admit light, screened ventilation slots near the top, and a stovepipe vent to carry away odors from the holding tank. Some portable toilets include toilet paper holders and antibacterial hand gel dispensers. High-end units for exclusive gatherings are even available with electric lights and hot running water; these may be mounted on trailers which are parked at the event.
Portable toilets are rented to customers by local companies that maintain their cleanliness, and so as a rule are drained, cleaned, disinfected and deodorized on a regular basis. Because they are not plumbed, they do not clog or overflow. A single portable toilet can be hauled in the back of a pickup truck, groups of 4 to 8 are frequently carried on flat-bed trucks.
Portable toilet service companies need flat-bed or pickup trucks to deliver and pick up their porta-potties, and also pumper trucks that can pump them out during extended usage. Their staff members must be reliable and “presentable” to the clients, and must have drivers licenses as required by each jurisdiction.
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