Portable Sanitation Association International

Association Insight Nov 10 2021

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2 I PSAI Association Insight, November 10, 2021 about the most efficient and effective techniques to stop their pots from freezing. Efficiency is about getting the job done in a cost-effective way with as little extra work as possible. Effectiveness means choosing an approach that prevents your toilets and equipment from freezing at the lowest temperature you encounter. Successful winterization means finding the right balance between those two. If your region typically only gets one or two nights where the temperature drops below freezing, it's probably not worth taking any special precautions. However, if you live and work in a region where the night-time temperature drops well below freezing for weeks on end, I suggest adopting a special winter routine. How Does Cold Weather Affect Portable Restroom Operators? For service technicians and delivery drivers, extreme cold weather makes it difficult to prepare restrooms for use. In addition, frozen waste is impossible to remove from tanks with a vacuum pump unless it can be melted. (continued on page 4) Background I had firsthand experience of cold weather when the company I managed supplied and serviced toilets and showers on the set of the live action movie, Mulan. The movie was filmed in the Ahuriri Valley, a broad alpine valley set between snow-capped mountain peaks in the Mackenzie Basin on New Zealand's South Island. In winter, it's often one of the coldest places in New Zealand. While the days are usually bright and sunny, the night-time temperature often drops well below freezing. On the set of Mulan, our portable toilets froze, the fresh water for the hand wash stations were solid and the gas boilers used for hot water in the portable restroom trailers were ice. We learned the hard way that the copper coils inside those boilers would split beyond repair if they weren't drained overnight. We also learned that the vacuum truck would freeze if it was parked outside overnight. When that happened, it would take several hours in the sun before it thawed out and could be ready for use. Although I didn't know too much about winterization when filming began, I found a few useful resources online, picked a few brains, and tested several different methods. Not all of them worked—and some caused more problems than we had at the start. I shared the lessons I learned in a recent episode of my weekly podcast and am pleased to share my experience with other PSAI members through this column. Winter Is Coming The arrival of winter is often marked by a flurry of social media posts as portable restroom operators ask for tips and advice Winterization: How to Prepare Restrooms and Equipment for Extremely Cold Weather (Part 1) (continued from page 1)

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