Five Surprising Facts About Portable Toilets and How to Insure Them

November 20, 2017

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But what if you gotta go when you’re attending a festival in the middle of nowhere? Or when you’re working on a construction site for a building that doesn’t yet have walls or a roof, much less working plumbing? Then you might have a problem – or you would, if not for the invention of the portable toilet.

Portable toilets suffer from a bad rap. Sure, human waste is never a glamorous topic, but that’s not the fault of the portable toilet. Just think how much worse off we’d be without the mobile restrooms!

Here are a few facts you might not know about portable toilets.

  1. Compared to flush toilets, portable toilets are a fairly recent invention. According to the Portable Sanitation Association, the first portable restrooms were made of wood and metal. They were used during the 1940s, when World War II caused people to move to new military bases and industrial operations before adequate infrastructure could be put in place. According to the Smithsonian, the flush toilet was invented in 1596 and became common in 1851.
  2. Toilet paper wasn’t always available. Whether you’re using a portable toilet or a regular one, you expect toilet paper to be available. In fact, you might assume it’s always been around. According to Toilet Paper History, mass manufacturing of modern toilet paper didn’t get started until the late 1800s, and splinters may have been a problem until splinter-free toilet paper was invented in 1935. It’s nice living in modern times, huh?
  3. The blue liquid used in portable toilets is blue for a very important reason. According to How Stuff Works, blue dye is used to cover up the appearance of the other, uh, stuff in the toilet. The liquid also contains fragrance and biocides.
  4. Portable toilets save water. According to the Portable Sanitation Association, portable restrooms save 125 million gallons of fresh water each day, or 45 billion gallons each year.  American use 100 gallons of water every day, and flushing the toilet uses more water than any other activity, including showering.
  5. Before indoor plumbing was common, people often used chamber pots at night. Atlas Obscura has photographs of chamber pots dating back to various times. One is from the Central Pacific Rail Road, and it includes a label instructing passengers not to empty the contents out the train’s windows. If a warning was needed, you know people must have tried it. Modern portable toilets sound pretty good in comparison, don’t they?

Operate a portable toilet business? Here’s how to insure it!

Heffernan Insurance has a Port-A-Gard program that provides coverage tailored to meet the needs of the portable sanitation industry. To see how we can flush your current insurance program of excess costs through our Port-A-Gard program, contact us today.