Is it as bad as it sounds? Not denigrating you, just it sounds like tough work.
Honestly not really. After awhile you kind of get used to it, it is a dirty job but I’m paid well.
I’m paid $18 an hour to basically drive around and do five minutes of work every 10 to 20 minutes or so. I get 40 hours a week over the winter and overtime in the summer, which can hit 20 plus hours a week.
In the winter time, how do you deal with frozen water and other temperature related problems?
In the winter time we run a brine solution in the blue stuff to prevent it from freezing usually keeps a liquid or until -12°F
How long have you been doing this job?
I’ve been doing the job for about two years and I’m 32 almost 33
So, how exactly does cleaning a porta pottie even go? And how long does it take?
I’m not sure about every company but my company prides itself on the cleanliness of its units.
First we suck out the tank. Then we apply the cleaning agent, which is an acid based cleaner. Next we scrub down all of the affected areas that are heavily soiled and then we rinse with clean water. Refill the hand sanitizer and the toilet paper, then we move on to the next one. The whole process on a bad day takes about 5 to 7 minutes per unit. On a good day about two and a half. It all depends on how much scrubbing with a brush you have to do
Do you wear full body suits? Protective masks and goggles?
No, none of that. We wear safety glasses and puncture resistant rubber gloves. It’s pretty much on the driver how much extra gear they want to wear.
Have you dealt with one that’s been tipped over? Is that just heinous?
It is really gross, not going to lie, but we are given the proper equipment to clean those units up. About two years ago, right after I started, we had one of the biggest wind storms we’ve had in my area and I spent 18 hours of my day with that order. I went through 450 gallons of water that day, on a normal day I go through 50.
Who makes the bigger mess, tailgating or festivals?
Neither. County parks are by far the worst toilets that I’ve ever had to clean. People poop in the urinals. Elementary schools also. Little fucking bratz throwing sticks and rocks and other bullshit into the tank.
What kind of stuff do you find?
There’s a lot of drug paraphernalia in units; needles, meth pipes, pot pipes, that kind of stuff.
Cell phones, if we find them in working condition we try to contact the owners via the contacts. If we can’t turn the device on we throw them away.
What’s the most expensive thing you ever fished out?
A functioning iPhone 10
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve found in a potty?
By far the weirdest thing I’ve ever found in a porta potty is literally a females and males entire outfits including shoes inside of the tank.
One of the guys that I work with found a “Great American Challenge” (an 18 inch 6 inch around silicone dildo,) in one of the toilets. We stuck it to the back of our bosses flatbed truck that he uses for hauling containers. We still don’t know if he found it before he left the yard, or if it fell off somewhere along the road.“
I’ve heard that there are always lots of undigested vitamins/pills at the bottom. Is that so?
By the time we usually get to them we clean them once a week there’s not really any solids left. In the healthy and wealthy areas, I see more of this kind of granular sludge that I think is attributed to taking a lot of pills or something similar.
Ever seen any poop graffiti?
Yes actually, more frequently than I’d like to.
I used a porta potty once and saw shit ABOVE THE RIM. Has this ever happened to one of your jobs? Why would it get this bad?
First off shooting above the rim of the toilet is actually more common than you’d think. I have no idea how it happens. It’s just there.
Have you ever cleaned a porta potty as part of an investigation?
No I have not but I have turned over things to the local authorities that were suspicious items in the toilets
Usually anyting that’s suspect is pulled out of the unit and the customer contact that we have is notified unless it is more seemingly detrimental then we will contact the authorities
Knives, keys, identification cards, credit cards, wallets. I actually carry a box of gallon Ziploc bags with the double zippers in my truck just in case I find things like these. One of guys found a empty magazine in one of the toilets and turned it in. I don’t know if anything came of that, but hey it might have actually helped.
Have you ever become physically sick from your job? Like didn’t use enough protection one day and ended up with a stomach bug?
Aside from a slight cough from the cleaners we use on the toilet which are acid-based that usually clear up in 10-15 minutes, I’ve never actually gotten physically ill from doing the job. Sometimes the smell makes you wrech, but that’s about it.
How does one get a job like this? Do you need any certifications?
Depending on how big of a tank you have on your truck you have to have a tank endorsement otherwise just a DOT examiner card and a class d driver’s license
Are you employed or an independent contractor?
I am a full-time employee of one of the three largest companies in the state I’m in
What’s your diet like surely working 10 hours a day? Would be tough on yourself right?
I eat breakfast at home bowl of cereal eggs bacon that kind of stuff in the morning for lunch I stop and have a salad or maybe a burger depending on how warm it is that day and I have a great home-cooked meal things to my wife in the evenings every day actually I recently have lost almost 60 pounds just by changing my diet and getting rid of energy drinks and switching just a regular soda
Why not find a better job?
Honestly this is got to be the easiest job I’ve ever done with the least amount of manual labor. Not that I’m lazy, but I broke my back about 10 years ago in six places, so driving around and doing this is better than sitting at home on disability
You know what they say in the start of the dirty jobs intro “it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.”
You know if it’s one thing that this job has taught me it’s to respect all of the service industry and the people that work in it because there are some jobs that I would hate to do and I’m just glad I don’t have to do that particular job and I fulfilled that same role not everybody wants to do it but they want the service, so I do it with a smile on my face and a kind heart.