A major outdoor country music festival in Prince Edward Island, Canada, keeps KM Liquid Waste Removal on its toes.
KM Liquid Waste Removal is located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The business is owned by partners Stephen MacKinnon, Corey Peters and Michael Cassidy. Managing partner MacKinnon works full time for the business, alongside two employees, Wade Bruce and Paul McPherson. MacKinnon’s cousin, a school teacher, joins the team during summers.
KM was established in 1980 by Ken MacDonald, whose initials remain in the company name. The business was purchased by MacKinnon and partners in 2009. KM covers the entire island province — all 2,200 square miles — offering portable restroom rentals and service, grease trap service, and pumping of lagoons, sludge tanks, lift stations and wastewater treatment plants. Portable restrooms total 40 percent of the company’s business and its primary restroom customers are construction companies, with concerts, weddings and fairs rounding out the list.
KM offers 215 portable restrooms: 100 PJN3 models from PolyJohn Canada and 115 Global models from Satellite Industries. In addition, the company provides flush units: six Aspen models from Five Peaks and two Fleet models from PolyJohn. Ten more are wheelchair-accessible models from PolyJohn. A hot-water shower unit is from PolyPortables.
They also have one Pluto3 urinal unit from Atlas Sanitation Products. The business also offers a 25-foot restroom trailer as well and 14 hand-wash stations from PolyJohn and PolyPortables. Deodorizers are from PolyPortables and Surco.
The company’s big vacuum trucks include a 2010 Freightliner M2-112 with a 4,100-gallon hot-dipped galvanized steel tank, a 2000 International 4900 with a 3,600-gallon steel tank, and a 1988 International with a 2,650-gallon steel tank. All tanks were built by Vacutrux and all carry Elmira Machine Industries / Wallenstein Vacuum pumps.
The 4 X 4 portable restroom service fleet includes: a 2006 GMC 3500HD with a converted propane tank (360 gallons waste/240 fresh) built out by Grand View Welding and outfitted with Elmira Machine pump; a 2003 Chevy 2500HD with a 250-gallon waste/100-gallon freshwater Crescent tank and Masport pump; and a 2004 Chevy 2500HD with a 360-gallon waste/210 fresh tank and Conde (Westmoor) pump. All tanks are steel.
The trucks tow a 10-unit Explorer trailer from McKee Technologies - Explorer Trailers and a 22-unit transport trailer from Linkletter Welding.
THE MAIN EVENT
The Cavendish Beach Music Festival is the largest multiday outdoor music festival in Atlantic Canada. Staged in mid-July, 75,000 visitors flock to the country music event each year. This was the ninth annual event, featuring such headliners as Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney. The event has stretched to as many as five days but in 2016 ran from Friday, July 8, to Sunday, July 10, with some fans coming in Thursday evening to buy tickets.
AN EARLY SETUP
“We begin setting up Monday before the event,” says MacKinnon. “That gives us good lead time, but it’s also coming off the Canada Day long weekend, which is also one of our busiest periods, so we’re moving units from one set of contracts to another. This year, we brought in 100 restrooms, including units from two other operators, although we were doing all of the service.”
Cavendish is a 40-minute drive north of KM headquarters. Both trailers are used to haul restrooms. MacKinnon sets up with only one other employee, working around crews erecting tents, fences, power supply, stages and food service venues.
“It’s a good atmosphere and everyone cooperates,” he says, “It’s like a concert in itself — a well-oiled machine. If someone looks like they need a hand we help each other out.
We generally set up our units in one central area for general use and another for wheelchair-accessible units.”
In addition to portables, KM sets up a community washroom made up of 48 plastic urinals from Satellite Industries mounted to plywood sheets. The urinals are located near the licensed beverage tents and are hidden by a fence with privacy skirting. They’re plumbed into two underground Fralo (Roth Global) holding tanks totaling a capacity of 1,500 gallons. They also used their one Pluto event urinal and borrowed three others to place on site.
“We’ve left the underground tank there from year to year,” says MacKinnon. “We bid the job, but we keep getting the contract so leaving it there hasn’t been a problem.”
The setup takes three days. The Thursday night “kitchen party” provides entertainment from a single tent for fans buying tickets, but attracts only small crowds and KM provides service the next morning.
“We’d prefer to do the service at night after 11 p.m. when the event shuts down, but local bylaws don’t allow us to work late,” says MacKinnon. “We also can’t make any noise until 7 a.m., so we come in at 6:30 and fill the sinks with water and then begin pumping and cleaning at 7. The gates open at 11 a.m. and we remain on site during the whole day.”
TAKING THE STAGE
Service requires all three restroom service trucks and five workers. The team expands to about a dozen during the day, including local workers hired to provide additional maintenance support, replace bathroom tissue and liquid hand sanitizer in the restrooms. The service trucks pump into the 3,600-gallon tank of the 2000 International, and waste is delivered to the municipal plant in Charlottetown.
This year’s service was far less eventful than the 2014 festival, when a hurricane blew through the area.
“It hit late morning with wind over 90 miles per hour and started to tip over the restrooms,” says MacKinnon. “Thankfully they were already pumped and clean. We set them back up and tied them together for support, but it didn’t work — they just fell over together! We decided that if they were going to blow over, they were going to blow over, so we just laid them down so they wouldn’t get damaged.
“One of the tents was anchored to a 3-ton concrete traffic barrier and we watched those barriers lift an inch or two off the ground. We let them attach some straps from the tent to our vac truck just to keep it from blowing away. Thankfully there was no real damage and the show continued the next day.”
THE FINAL ACT
The event ended on Sunday night. MacKinnon returned for one last service on Monday morning, drained the tanks, removed supplies and began to deliver the units back to their owners and his own home base.
“It’s more relaxed,” he says. “The show organizers want everything out of there in two weeks.”
Typically, KM tries to coordinate the pickup with regularly scheduled work along established service routes.
“At the end of the day, events like this are a lot of hard work,” says MacKinnon. “People outside the industry don’t realize quite how much. I really enjoy doing them and I appreciate that one moment when you’re all set up and just watching what the people at the event are doing and seeing everyone have a good time.”