Who Ya Gonna Call When You Need Expert Advice About Portable Sanitation?

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Readers of a certain age will remember the theme song to the original Ghostbusters movie released in 1984. It’s the kind of thing that gets into your head and sticks there all day. Some of the words go like this:

If there’s something weird

And it don’t look good.

Who you gonna call?

If you’re seeing things

Running through your head.

Who can you call?

You may wonder why I bring this up. Well, the Portable Sanitation Association International has not run off any ghosts or seen the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But I hope portable sanitation operators see us as the answer to “Who ya gonna call?” in our industry. We don’t have any proton packs or particle throwers, but we have other ways of helping solve scary problems that affect your ability to do business. Here are some examples:

For several years, operators in a Midwestern state were vexed. Every spring they were not allowed to drive their trucks on county roads due to thawing, while large vehicles such as school buses and milk trucks motored right on by. Portable sanitation companies had to choose between being cited for driving on the roads or letting units go without service for weeks at a time. The PSAI worked with the operators, the Association of County Administrators and elected officials to get the rule changed.

Last summer, a company in the Western U.S. was being told by a large government contractor that the new three-year bid contract would only pay for cleaning portable units once every 90 days. The PSAI was able to help the company educate the government entity so the contract was ultimately offered on terms better aligned with recommended servicing schedules.

When COVID-19 hit, the industry had questions and the PSAI swung into action. Within days, we had created the only portable sanitation-specific guidance available, added a COVID-19 Resource Center to our website and provided members with a weekly live discussion forum for managing the challenges to their companies. We are still constantly updating these resources, and we are in the process of updating all relevant servicing procedures for the new normal.

A company owner called when facilities started reopening this spring. The rules in his state seemed to prevent portable restrooms from being part of the solution that would allow certain businesses to bring their operations back online. The PSAI talked with numerous people at state agencies and negotiated a path for the use of portable sanitation equipment. Then we conducted a three-way live meeting with the operator and the customer to walk them through sanitation options that would allow the customer to reopen.


Nonmembers often say things like “I’ve been in business for a lot of years. I made it on my own. I don’t need the PSAI.” Others say things such as “Why should I spend money on that? I can just go on Facebook and get ideas from other operators for free.” Well, that’s true. But here are some other things that are true.

When you do everything on your own, you’re doing it the hard way. You also get what you pay for. A lot of the ideas on Facebook are good. A lot of them are not so good. Do you have the time and money to figure out which are which? And do your friends on Facebook know how to work with the government systems when hard problems come up?

Trade associations exist to help promote their respective industries and solve its problems. If you are not a member of the PSAI, you’re cutting yourself off from reliable expertise and system know-how. You are also riding for free on the backs of the companies that fund the organization so we can advocate for the industry. You may think you are smart for doing that. But it seems to me the truly smart people are those who invest about the price of one new portable restroom unit per year in an organization that works for the benefit of everyone in this business.

They know who to call.  


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