Quality Portable Sanitation Is Critical to the Success of a Farm Fair

Thorough planning, round-the-clock restroom service help Vermont’s Dimmick Wastewater Service to land repeat contracts for the Tunbridge World’s Fair.
Quality Portable Sanitation Is Critical to the Success of a Farm Fair
With its old-fashioned carnival, the Tunbridge World’s Fair in Vermont draws more than 30,000 people every September and keeps the staff of Dimmick Wastewater Services hopping. (Photos by Oliver Parini)

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Dimmick Wastewater Service in Randolph, Vermont, dedicates about half of its 14 employees to servicing the annual Tunbridge World’s Fair, a historic agricultural show that’s been held for more than 140 years in the small town of Tunbridge. Darlene Jones, the sister of the company’s primary owner, Bob Dimmick, manages the portable restroom arm of the company. She serves as the main liaison with fair officials. Bruce Bryan, the company’s head portable restroom technician, is the event’s on-site coordinator; he stays at the fair 24/7 during its four-day run.

The bulk of restroom service is handled by technicians Kyle Moses and Corey Bradley. They get an assist from Byron Peters and Michael Howe, who make sure the required restrooms are clean and ready to go in the days leading up to the event. The two men also ride with Moses and Bradley to keep restroom cleaning operations moving along quickly and help the company’s service vehicles wind their way through the crowded fairgrounds. “We always have two people on the trucks to keep things moving faster and for crowd control,” Jones says.


Dimmick Wastewater is a diversified company with divisions that pump and inspect septic systems, dewater liquid waste, clean drainlines and rent portable restrooms. Dimmick has been involved in the wastewater industry since he was a youngster, working for his father, Russell, who started the company as Central Vermont Septic Service in 1976.

At age 18, Dimmick bought the septic service end of the business from his father, who also sold trailers to contractors. In 1998, he sold his business to a local waste-hauling outfit that wanted to expand its services. He stayed on as an employee for several years until the company announced it was selling the liquid-waste disposal division. Dimmick bought the division and renamed it Dimmick Wastewater Service.


Dimmick owns about 500 restrooms from Five Peaks, Satellite Industries and PolyPortables; restroom trailers from Rich Specialty Trailers and Advanced Containment Systems Inc. (ACSI); 15 hand-wash stations and seven hand-sanitizer stations from Five Peaks.

The company also owns a Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck that carries a TankTec slide-in unit with a 200-gallon waste/100-gallon freshwater aluminum tank and Masport pump, and a Dodge Ram 5500 platform truck equipped with a 500-gallon wastewater tank, two 190-gallon stainless steel freshwater tanks and a Masport pump. “This truck can carry eight portable restrooms, which works well for large events because of its delivery capabilities,” Jones says.

In addition, the company owns two more Dodge 5500s, one outfitted with a 900-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater stainless steel tank and the other with a 600-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater stainless steel tank. Both trucks use Masport pumps. All three Dodge trucks were built out by L. T. & E. Inc. The firm also owns three Explorer trailers from McKee Technologies.


First held in 1867, tens of thousands of people attend the fair, which runs from a Thursday through a Sunday in September (it always starts 10 days after Labor Day). The event showcases everything from farming and agricultural traditions and culture to antiques, to competitions such as horse and ox pulling, horse racing, and cattle and horse shows.
Dimmick has provided portable restroom and septic services for the fair for seven straight years. “We’ve gone through a lot of trial and error over the years, but we’ve learned as we went along and now have a pretty nice setup for them,” Jones says.


For the Tunbridge Fair, the company sets up about 28 restrooms, five hand-wash stations, seven hand-sanitizer stations, one restroom trailer and a shower trailer. “A lot of people working in the barns with cows and horses use the shower trailer,” Jones explains.

Employees service the event with one of the Dodge 5500s, which stays on the fairgrounds for all four days. To dispose of waste, the company also brings a 6,500-gallon tanker trailer with a steel tank, made by Heil Trailer International. Technicians off-load waste into the tanker. In addition, the company brings a camper. Bryan uses it as a command base as well as a place to sleep.


The week before the fair begins, Peters and Howe wash restrooms. They are delivered on Monday and Tuesday before the fair. On the first day of the fair, technicians service most of the restrooms. “They might not need pumping, but we make sure they’re clean and presentable, and well-stocked with supplies,” Jones says. But in the ensuing days, technicians perform full cleanings two to four times a day, depending on the size of the crowds and the weather. They also provide partial service in between full cleanings. “We start at 5 a.m., so the guys put in some long days,” she notes.

In 2016, 32,000 people attended the fair, including 15,000 on Saturday alone. “That’s our busiest day,” Jones explains. “The guys are going nonstop — not a lot of downtime.” In between restroom service, the company pumps waste tanks on RVs used by fair employees and participants, charging a nominal fee for the service.

“Sometimes we’re also asked to pump out septic tanks on the fairgrounds while we’re there,” she adds. “We can use our restroom service trucks for that, but if we need to, we can bring in one of our bigger vacuum trucks.” On Monday, technicians come back to pick up the restrooms, related gear and equipment.

While servicing the fair involves a lot of planning and long hours, employees look forward to it every year. “It’s a local event and it’s a pretty big deal to the people who live here,” Jones explains. “Everyone loves the Tunbridge Fair and our workers love to do it. They’re tired by the time it ends, but it’s also a lot of fun.”


Jones says keeping restrooms clean and well stocked with supplies has been critical to winning service contracts so many years in a row. “We set really high standards,” she explains. “We also have technicians who love their jobs and care about the product they put out.

“The fact that we stay there 24 hours a day is critical, too,” she adds. “There’s always someone there for fair officials to talk to if there’s a problem.”


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