Quick Emergency Service Saves Busy Downtown After Sewer Failure

PROs and pumpers need to be prepared to provide emergency services even during the busy season
Quick Emergency Service Saves Busy Downtown After Sewer Failure

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When Matt Frazier, owner of MA Frazier Disposal Co., got the call on July 11 that the sewer system in Provincetown, Massachusetts, was not working properly, he sprung into action.

“We start early in the day and our drivers were just coming in when the call came. As the drivers came in, we loaded up pickups with portable toilets and sent them downtown,” says Frazier, who has a contract to provide Provincetown with portable toilets for different events and for emergencies. 

The issue started in this scenic town on Cape Cod when a valve in the sewer system became stuck in a closed position, dropping pressure in the part of the system that serves 1,000 downtown customers. A problem with the software caused the issue and the valve was reopened later that day, bringing the vacuum system up to half-strength. It was not until the end of the next day that everything was back to normal.

Town officials asked all residents and businesses on the downtown system to limit clothes washing, dishwashing, restroom use and showering. For stores and restaurants, that meant closing their public restrooms. Frazier’s units served the downtown for two days.

“We brought in portable toilets within 45 minutes of being notified. All told, we brought in 30 regular and handicapped PolyPortables,” Frazier says. “They were all ready to go. All we had to do was put in the toilet paper when they were delivered downtown.”

It was the week after the Fourth of July and Provincetown was packed. “Plus, it was raining so everyone came to town to shop. By 1:30 p.m., we had a pumper truck back out there to service the units. We serviced them again at 6 p.m. and kept that up until everything was back to normal.”

Being ready for an emergency is essential for pumpers and portable restroom operators, Frazier says. He recalled an incident at a concert at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield that required 120 portable toilets immediately when the town’s water system went out.

“We teamed up with a friendly competitor to get it done,” he says.

Located in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, Frazier employs 22. While Frazier’s crews were busy with their regular work on July 12, they put in the extra time to handle the problem in Provincetown.

“My guys are used to emergencies. During the height of the season, it seems we get a call every weekend. When you go from what is normally a 4,000-person town to one with 100,000, things start working harder and the chance of a problem increases.”


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