Don’t Navigate the Complex World of Portable Sanitation Alone. Join the PSAI.

Don’t Navigate the Complex World of Portable Sanitation Alone. Join the PSAI.
Karleen Kos is executive director of the Portable Sanitation Association International. She may be reached at or 952/854-8300.

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A children’s book titled Everyone Poops has sold millions of copies since the 1970s. A couple of books for grown-ups called Everybody Poops 410 Pounds and Everybody Poops 10 Million Pounds bring into focus just how much waste an individual produces in a year and a city like New York produces in a single day.

I think we can all agree — there’s a lot of waste to be handled and portable restroom operators are professionals who handle a good portion of it.

People who don’t know anything about our work often turn it into a joke — but those of us in the industry know how serious it is. There is a lot to know.

  • PROs have to be business people, licensing their company, lawfully collecting and paying taxes, protecting workers, and carrying out a business strategy sufficient to make a profit and grow the company
  • PROs have to be diplomats and negotiators, successfully getting the best deals from customer agreements, financing sources and suppliers
  • PROs have to be experts on portable sanitation topics including processes, techniques, equipment, and a dizzying array of relevant laws at federal, state and local levels

With all this to know — and constantly changing rules — there is a role for a portable sanitation-specific trade association like Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI). Every week I take calls from members and nonmembers with questions:

  • What licenses do I need and how can I get them?
  • Help — I’m being audited by my state’s tax authority and they say I owe thousands of dollars in back taxes! Can that be right?
  • My disposal site says they won’t take my loads anymore because they are too heavily concentrated with (some mineral). What are the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) limits? What are my disposal alternatives?
  • There is a law in my state I think is terrible. How can I get it changed?
  • One of my guys saw a competitor illegally dumping a load into a city sewer. What should I do?
  • Are ADA units required at a private wedding held on public land?
  • My state requires hours of ongoing training, but I can’t find anything specific to portable sanitation. Can you work with the state to offer information relevant to us?

We know there are PROs who believe they don’t have the money or the time to be part of the PSAI. In today’s world, when you have a question or a need, you can always just throw it open to the world of Facebook if you can’t figure it out yourself. Sometimes that works fine. Sometimes really questionable things are suggested on social media. You take your chances.

As a member of the PSAI you can be sure of a few things:

  • The information you get will be as accurate as it can be
  • If we don’t have the answers, we’ll do our best to get them or to create them
  • If a law needs to be addressed, we’ll help PROs in your state find a way to do so

We hope you’ll consider joining the PSAI if you’re not already a member. A lot has changed in the past three years, and we offer more benefits and support than ever. Most members would tell you the investment more than pays for itself.

There is a proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Everyone poops, and everyone in the portable sanitation industry, working together, can go further in gaining both respect and profit as we handle our share of the 410 pounds per person per year. Join us!


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