It’s amazing what you can find in a porta-potty. Cell phones, diapers, water bottles, silverware, and shoes are all often carelessly or accidentally thrown down the toilet. Such are the bane of Paul Cogan, general manager at Clean Portable Restrooms in West Bridgewater. He deals with unclogging of the tanks and numerous other sanitation and maintenance tasks for over a hundred units.
“A lot more goes into porta-potties than meets the eye,” said Cogan, who oversees the rental of these modern outhouses to construction job sites, parties, road races, baseball fields, and more. Cogan spoke to Globe correspondent Cindy Atoji Keene about the business of porte-potty rental.
“Most people don’t give a second thought to a porta potty, but they can make or break an event. Our goal is to have portable toilets so clean that you feel comfortable sending in even your grandmother. On average, a unit has roughly 200 uses, so you don’t want to be the 199th person going into there. Some people don’t follow our recommendations for the number of toilets per crowd, then call us and say, ‘Hey this thing is disgusting,” but we can’t force people to order up.”
“This company got started as an extension of Noonan Waste Services when we kept getting requests for porta-potties. We bantered about different names – some that were funny – but decided to go with a respectable name that really illustrated what we were doing. So when we call from ‘Clean Portable Restrooms,’ there’s no question about what we do. Our units range from the standard toilet to luxury stalls with flushable toilets, towel racks, coat hooks and mirrors.”
“The job that really turned the corner for us was a big flood at the Warwick Mall in Rhode Island. We had to supply dozens of emergency units and service them 24/7. Another memorable assignment was bringing portable restrooms on Georges Island – our truck had to drive down the beach and drop off the units, reminding me of a D-Day invasion. And as far as fishing out all those foreign objects? The worst are those little alcohol nip bottles. They create a whole layer of complexity for service technicians. They get sucked up into the hoses that vacuums up the waste, go halfway into the tanks, then clog the line. But all this becomes routine because we have a through system in place, reconditioning all toilets before they go out. We’re trying to take ports potties to another level. I think we’ve succeeded.”