News Briefs: Government Shutdown Continues to Overwhelm National Parks Portable Sanitation Services

News Briefs: Government Shutdown Continues to Overwhelm National Parks Portable Sanitation Services

With the government shutdown grinding into its 31st day, reports of overflowing portable toilets and untenable public sanitation services at national parks continue to trickle in. However, some parks have announced they will repurpose recreational fees to provide basic sanitation services. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the stories relating to the portable sanitation industry:

  • In one instance out of Death Valley National Park, it took park rangers more than two hours to clean a single restroom and the surrounding area after it had been trashed by park attendees. Death Valley is one of a number of National Parks repurposing recreation fees in attempts to clean up and reopen closed portions of the parks. The Sacramento Bee reports on the situation and shares a time-lapse video of the cleanup efforts. 
  • The National Park Service is threatening to close Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina for the duration of the shutdown since human waste continues to be found outside restroom facilities. According to the Charlotte Observer, fecal matter has been found as recently as last Thursday at least two different locations. Members of the Outer Banks Preservation Association and North Carolina Beach Buggy Association have stepped up to provide services as best they can, but that hasn’t stopped some patrons from taking advantage. 
  • Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., the National Park Service announced last week that garbage pickup and other sanitation services would resume at the National Mall according to WTOP-FM 103.5. The station previously reported that portable restrooms and garbage cans were overflowing as visitors continued to flow into what’s also known as America’s Front Yard. The renewed services will be paid for with recreational fees as well. 

Fire breaks out at Philadelphia-based restroom provider

In other news, a fire broke out at Philadelphia-based portable restroom company A Royal Flush just after 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6. 6ABC Action News reports that several of the portable restrooms caught fire and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was unknown.

City votes to remove park portables

The city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, opted to remove portable restrooms from city parks earlier this month, citing budget cuts. According to WEAU-TV 13 News, the city was spending nearly $20,000 to have the 11 city-owned portable restrooms serviced by a private company. The move was not without its detractors, and users of the municipal dog park protested the decision. After negotiations city leaders opted to leave the restroom located at the Otter Creek Dog Park. However, servicing for the restroom will be paid for out of dog park’s budget, which is funded by dog-licensing fees. City leaders have indicated they would be open to working with other groups in a similar manner to restore the restrooms at the other parks.


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