How to Empty a Portable Toilet: Tips on Streamlining Porta Potty Care

how to empty a portable toilet

Whether you’re running a remote job site or planning a multi-day event, you’re going to need to figure out how to empty a portable toilet to keep odors at bay and allow guests to do their business in peace.

Let’s face it – this is not something anyone wants to manage themselves. It’s nasty work, but the unfortunate reality is it has to get done. Don’t worry – we’ll help you make this as quick and painless as possible with our tips on how to empty a porta potty below.

We’ll cover everything from how often these units need to be pumped to where you should dispose of the waste, the post-pump sanitizing process, and more. 

The truth is, though, you can avoid all the uncertainty (and foulness) of emptying porta potties when you partner with Viking Rental here in Texas. 

We’re the most trusted provider of portable sanitation solutions in the state. You can rest assured your units remain in tip-top shape throughout the entire duration of your rental period with our partnership, as we service them on your behalf.

So, learn more about the Viking difference today or find out what goes on behind the scenes of emptying a porta potty below!

Can I Empty My Own Porta Potty?

First things first – should you even attempt this project yourself or leave it to the pros? 

It’s entirely feasible to empty your own porta potty. However, you do need to be aware of the safety and compliance requirements before you get started. 

Many regions require waste to be disposed of at approved facilities, and some areas might go as far as mandating a licensed professional to handle certain types of waste.

You also need to think about the equipment necessary for emptying a porta potty. You’ll need a sewage pump and protective gear to avoid contamination and personal harm. But if you have all this on hand and you’re up for the tough task at hand, good on you! We’ll walk you through how to empty a porta potty below.

How to Empty a Portable Toilet Yourself

Just as with how to clean a portable toilet, you should strongly consider hiring a professional to empty your portable toilets. We’ll show you why even if you can, it doesn’t mean you should, in just a moment. But for those who are dead-set on learning how to empty a portable toilet, here we go!

Signs You Need to Empty a Porta Potty

One of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is – how often do holding tanks need to be pumped? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, which is why you’re better off watching for the signs it’s time to empty the unit:

  • Odor: Persistent unpleasant smells despite using deodorizers. This is especially important for those running events as you don’t want the restroom to detract from the guest experience.
  • Visible Waste Levels: If the waste reaches or exceeds the indicator line inside the tank. Again, this is going to be something guests turn their nose up at (literally) and could have a negative impact on the perception they have leaving the venue.
  • Frequency of Use: Use your best judgment based on usage. If the porta potty services multiple people daily, it should be emptied more frequently – typically once a week for high-traffic areas.
  • Event Conclusion: Always empty porta potties after an event to prepare them for storage or the next use. You want to start with a clean slate.

What Do You Do With the Waste?

As we touched on earlier, safe disposal of porta potta waste cannot be taken lightly – otherwise, you could be subject to hefty fines.

So, check local regulations and find a designated dumping site or wastewater treatment facility that accepts porta potty waste. You’ll then need to use a specialized waste tank or pump-out system to transport the waste. It’s important that the system is secure to avoid spills.

Step-by-Step Guide to Pumping the Waste Out of the Unit

Now comes the fun part – actually emptying your porta potty. Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Preparation: Wear protective gloves, goggles, and a mask to protect from splashes and fumes. Gather your equipment, including a portable waste tank or pump.
  • Connect the Pump: Attach the pump’s intake hose to the porta potty’s waste valve. 
  1. Begin Pumping: Turn on the pump and carefully monitor the waste as it transfers to the containment tank. Keep an eye on the waste levels in the porta potty to avoid over-pumping, which could damage your equipment.
  2. Disconnect and Cap: Once the tank is empty, disconnect the pump hose and securely cap all openings, both on the porta potty and the waste container, to prevent leakage.
  3. Transport and Dispose: Transport the waste to the approved disposal site. Follow proper procedures at the site for unloading the waste.

Sanitization After Emptying

You’re not quite done yet. It’s time to sanitize the holding tank within your porta potty. While you’re at it, you may as well clean the rest of the unit too.

Start with a sanitization solution specifically designed for porta potty tanks. This usually involves a mix of water and a commercial-grade disinfectant or sanitizer that is safe for use in septic systems.

Pour the sanitization mixture into the holding tank, and if possible, agitate it around to make sure it gets on all surfaces. You can do this by shaking the unit or putting a specialized pump inside the holding tank.

Then, after letting it sit for a while so the active ingredients work their magic, you can pump that mixture out the same way you did the waste. Follow up with fresh water and then fill it with a deodorizing solution. 

Follow this up by cleaning the rest of the interior. Use a mixture of water and disinfectant to scrub the inside of the unit, focusing on high-touch areas like the seat, door handles, and any other surfaces. Allow the interior to air dry completely. 

Refill any consumables such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and chemical additives in the waste tank, and you should be good to go!

The Challenges of Emptying a Portable Toilet

There you have it – how to empty a porta potty. As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into the project. Let’s review some of the challenges to help you determine if this is really something worth handling yourself or if it’s best left to the experts:

Health and Safety Risks

Handling human waste isn’t just a nauseating experience for most people – it can expose you to pathogens and harmful bacteria that may lead to serious illness. 

Additionally, the chemicals used in the waste tank to break down waste and control odors can be hazardous. Some may cause skin burns or respiratory issues if proper PPE is not worn.

Proper Disposal

Not all areas have easily accessible facilities that accept porta potty waste. You may find it challenging to transport waste to a disposal site that is compliant with local regulations. 

If you don’t already have the equipment to support this task, we don’t recommend investing in it – just hire a professional instead. You’ll thank us later!

Odor Management

Even when using deodorizers within the tank, disturbing the waste can release pungent odors that unpleasant doesn’t even begin to describe. This can be a problem for concerts, weddings, and other events, where the presence of these odors might compromise guest satisfaction.

How Much Does it Cost to Empty a Porta Potty Professionally?

You’re not alone if you decide that you’d rather pay someone to handle this grotesque task for you. In fact, most people who use porta potties do not empty them on their own. 

That being said, how much does it cost to empty a porta potty professionally? You need to factor this into your budget for porta potty rental prices, after all.

There’s no one-size-fits-all all answer, as it depends on factors like how many portable toilets you have, the porta potty size, location, and more. Here’s a brief overview of what you should consider in estimating your cost:

  • Location and Accessibility: If your site is remote or difficult to access, you may incur higher charges due to the extra time and fuel required for service trucks to reach and return from your location. You may find better pricing if you have access to multiple service providers, too.
  • Number of Units: Bulk rates are commonly available, which can decrease the per-unit cost when multiple units are serviced during the same visit. 
  • Type of Waste: Standard waste is typically less expensive to handle than hazardous waste, which may require special disposal methods and precautions. Emptying chemicals or unusual waste costs more given these additional handling requirements.
  • Additional Services: Many providers offer comprehensive care packages that include not only emptying the waste tank but also cleaning, sanitizing, and restocking supplies like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. These full-service options will cost more but can provide better value by maintaining the porta potties in top condition.

That being said, how much does it cost to empty a porta potty on average? Expect anywhere from $100 to $150 per service for standard maintenance. It’s a small price to pay to avoid the hassle and horror of having to deal with this job yourself.

But, what if we told you that you could partner with a provider that not only offered all the different types of porta potties you could need but also kept them in tip-top shape throughout the entire duration of your rental? It’s time to reach out to Viking Rental for peace of mind!

Rent Through Viking and Put the Stress of Cleaning and Emptying Portable Toilets in the Past!

We have more than 50 years of experience serving Texas with all the essential equipment for running job sites and events, from fencing to sanitation solutions. 

You can expect a seamless process from start to finish with us, from your initial outreach to the drop-off of units, maintenance, and eventually, pick-up. You don’t have to lift a finger, we do it all so you can focus on what you do best.

Yes, this means we even empty the units for you during longer, multi-day events as necessary. And we don’t just offer standard porta potties, either – here are some of our most popular solutions:

So, if you need sanitation solutions for your next project or event, think Viking Rental in Texas. We’re a click or call away ready to help you put the stress of porta potty management in the past! 

Final Thoughts on How to Empty a Porta Potty

As you can see, learning how to empty a portable toilet is not for the faint of heart. Just the mere thought of pumping out all that waste is enough to leave most people queasy, questioning whether it’s even worth handling it yourself or not.

The choice is yours, ultimately. You now know how to empty a porta potty and all that goes into it, from finding a suitable waste dumping site to cleaning the unit afterward. 

Our blog has more resources on how restroom trailers work, choosing between a porta potty vs bathroom trailer, DIY bathroom trailer, price for ADA porta potty, and a whole lot more.

At this point, though, it’s time to connect with the experts at Viking Rental now that you know where to rent a porta potty in Texas. Experience the pinnacle of portable sanitation through our service today!