Septic Services Inc. Has Provided Portable Restrooms for the Washington Town & Country Fair for Decades

A popular Missouri country fair is the biggest event of the season for PRO Dave Flagg

Septic Services Inc. Has Provided Portable Restrooms for the Washington Town & Country Fair for Decades

A fairgoer uses one of the sinks placed and serviced by Septic Services. The PRO has served the fair for more than 30 years.

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THE TEAM

Based in Union, Missouri, Septic Services Inc. has 18 employees. Normally, just four of them work in the portable restroom division, but that changes for the company’s biggest event of the year: the Washington Town & Country Fair. “It’s one of the largest fairs in Missouri,” says Dave Flagg, Septic Services founder. “On this event, we’ll bring in extra people. We’ll take people from other parts of the company.” Flagg says usually nine people are assigned to work the fair, which runs Wednesday through Sunday, with a couple more people added on the weekend.

COMPANY HISTORY

Septic Services was founded in 1982 by Flagg when he was 19. At first, it was a septic pumping business, which Flagg operated during the day while he worked a second-shift factory job and then did maintenance on his equipment and paperwork after that. After three years, he went full time and gradually added portable restrooms, septic system installation and service work. Since the 1990s, the company has diversified into the manufacturing of aerators, pumps and control panels. Septic Services also built a septage treatment facility.

THE EVENT

The Washington Town & Country Fair has been operating since 1930 in Washington, Missouri, a Missouri River city of 14,000 people, about 50 miles west of St. Louis. The five-day event features nationally known entertainers, bronc and bull riding, freestyle American bullfighting, truck and tractor pulls, stadium motocross, demolition derbies, livestock shows, food booths, pie-eating contests, midway rides and exhibitions ranging from glass blowing to chain saw carving. The fair can be expected to draw 90,000 people or more over the five days. Septic Services has been the portable restroom provider for the event for 31 years.

PREP TIME

Septic Services thoroughly inspects all the equipment it will be sending to the fair. “Prior to the event, we super-clean everything, making sure any kind of repair is taken care of, and we pressure wash everything,” says Flagg. Trucks and trailers are loaded on the Friday before the fair so the first deliveries can start early Monday morning. The restrooms are loaded 12 at a time on custom-built trailers for the eight-mile trip from Union to Washington. The deliveries are usually finished by early Monday afternoon.

“After we deliver, we pressure wash again. We make sure they’re really clean and make sure the decals are on right,” Flagg says.

The fair itself also has some preparatory events, including a parade through town on the Sunday before the fair. Septic Services is also involved with the parade. “We scatter toilets all through town for the parade, then pick them up and clean them, and bring them out to the fair,” Flagg says. At the fair, the restrooms and sinks are placed strategically around the site.

Flagg says that when he first started working this event, the restrooms would be serviced twice a day. Now, he says, they use more restrooms, and the crew knows from experience where they are needed most, so they only need to be serviced once a day.

THE EQUIPMENT

Septic Services delivers 140 portable restrooms, 13 to 15 sinks, and five or six wheelchair-accessible portable restrooms, all from PolyJohn Enterprises. To service units at the fair, the company uses two vacuum trucks with a third one added on the weekend. The trucks are Dodge 5500s, outfitted with parts from different manufacturers. The trucks have 600-gallon waste and 300-gallon freshwater steel or stainless steel tanks and Moro USA pumps.

Septic Services also sends a pickup truck to the fair every day to restock toilet paper, hand sanitizer and paper towels. The company’s chemical provider is J&J Chemical Co. Paper products are supplied by 7 Cedars Supply.

GETTING IT DONE

During the fair, Flagg’s crew services every restroom and sink daily. The team starts at 5 a.m. with two people working each vacuum truck and another two in the pickup truck with supplies. Each unit is pressure washed inside and out with every service, Flagg says, using a General Pump pressure washer. The crew has to work fast, he says.

“It’s imperative that we get it done quickly,” Flagg says. “We always pick up all the trash — the beer cups and such — in and around the units. We get the job done, get it done right and get out of the way for the customers. We’ve got a pretty good system, and it goes pretty well. We do this early in the morning and then go on to our normal construction servicing and weekend servicing.”

In 2017, the fair experienced some rain, which is not unusual for a five-day midsummer event.

“Rain makes the job a little harder,” Flagg says. “Sometimes you have to put down sawdust or wood chips in front of the units to keep them clean inside.” Fortunately, there are usually plenty of wood chips available from the livestock areas.

BACK-TO-BACK EVENTS

In 2017, the Washington Town & Country Fair was rapidly followed by another big event that created a huge demand for portable restrooms, the solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The path of totality cut right across Missouri and right through the area served by Septic Services. Numerous eclipse-watching events in the area needed portable restrooms. Septic Services’ inventory of more than 400 restrooms was completely booked.

“We had a little space in between (where we took them back to our yard), but we went right from the fair to the eclipse,” Flagg says. “We had everything booked for the eclipse — every unit we had to spare. We had to cut it off because we didn’t have enough to go around.”



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