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PortaPotties 2001

The source of the portapotty problem in 2000 has been found. And it was YOU, brothers and sisters. It was YOU.

At the outset, let us remind you that we do not speak officially. We are not BMOrg. We do live in the area, however, and get to attend the public meetings. And we were surprised and disgusted to learn what the problem was with the portapotties in 2000.

First of all, someone did steal a portapotty sucking truck, take it for a joyride, and render it inoperative for the rest of the event. That caused a significant downturn in the amount of sucking going on at the potties.

But that was not the real problem, brothers and sisters. The real problem was all the garbage in the potties. People dropped cans and bottles in the portapotties. Clothes fell in. Food fell in. This caused a problem, but it also caused a huge impact on the ability of BMOrg to dispose of waste this year.

First, the problem.

Sucking crap out of the portapotties is not a big deal. A tanker truck rolls up to the potties, cleverly arranged to facilitate the process. The tanker provides a vacuum, and a person with a hose walks into the potty and puts the hose into the potty tank. Much like your home vacuum cleaner, the tanker sucks out the contents of the potty and stores it in the tank. Much like your home vacuum cleaner, if the hose sucks in a sock, it clogs. Unlike your home vacuum cleaner, getting a sock out of the raw sewage is a problem. You can't just drop the hose on the ground and blow it out, can you?

Unclogging the hose without spreading raw sewage around on the ground and whoever is standing nearby is a problem. It takes time. Time that could have been spent going around and cleaning the crap out of other portapotties.

The solution is to keep the potties free of garbage. Stop dropping garbage into the portapotties.

But this is not the biggest problem caused by what you are dumping into the portapotties, brothers and sisters.

The REAL problem

BMOrg made arrangements in 2000 to have the tankers go to a nearby licensed sewage facility to dump all our crap. Sewage facilities are licensed to ensure that all the waste is handled and treated properly so that it doesn't foul the local water supplies, doesn't get spread around haphazardly where people can come into contact with the raw sewage. Sewage facilities have standards. One of those is that they do not handle what is referred to as solid waste. Sewage facilities are geared to the proper disposal of sewage, which can be broken down by all those little microbes.

So when you drop a nut in the potty, it will get sucked through the hose into the tanker with no problem. But at the sewage facility, it is solid waste. It cannot be disposed of properly at the sewage facility. To ensure that no solid waste is run through the treatment process, sewage facilities filter all the sewage, and if there is solid waste, someone has to clean it off the filter. And then this fetid solid waste has to be disposed of properly by the licensed sewage facility.

So the portapotties at Burning Man were, it turns out, filled with solid waste that did, in many cases, make it through the hose and into the tanker truck. So much solid waste, in fact, that the local facility told BMOrg that it wasn't going to take our crap anymore. During the middle of the event, Burning Man was told that it could not dispose of its waste from the portapotties.

This is a major issue.

BMOrg quickly made arrangements for a larger tanker, and the small, potty sucking trucks then offloaded into the larger tanker which made the two and a half hour one way trip to Reno for disposal. The facility there found that the solid waste content exceeded its limits and made it clear that Burning Man would have to take our crap somewhere else if this continued. This means that if in 2001 the solid waste is at the same levels as in 2000, BMOrg has no place to take our sewage.

This is a major issue.

The solution is simple. Stop dumping your garbage in the portapotties. Don't throw food in, don't throw your cans and bottles in the portapotty, don't drop those no longer needed panties in, don't put your uneaten food in, don't let your shoes fall in, don't dispose of your nuts and bolts from your shade structure in the portapotties.

Nothing should go in the portapotty but your body waste and toilet tissue. Nothing else. Nothing.

Special note to girls

Stop standing on the seat of the portapotty and squatting down to take a leak. You're spraying the whole potty with urine, and it's disgusting.

It's safe to sit on a toilet. Honest. Spraying urine all over the seat and floor of the portapotty is disgusting. Stop it.

See Evil female pissers for more information on sitting on a toilet seat. It's safe. Honest.

Michael Bluejay has a page chock full of information on alternatives to using the BM portapotties if you can't bring yourself to sit on the seat and otherwise not clog up our toilets. Drop by Burning Man for the Porta-Potty Shy for some portable johns you can bring yourself and for other inexpensive suggestions for alternatives to the public potties.

This is not the official Burning Man site. That Web site is located at Welcome to Burning Man.
The Burning Man Archives contain every Web site for the Burning Man known to Man. Please browse that site as well.

Copyright © 2001, The Civilized Explorer