Portable Sanitation Winterization Do’s and Don’ts
It’s important to take steps to protect your rented portable sanitation equipment when it’s exposed to frigid winter weather. Your partners at USS are here to help you with many of the tasks associated with winterization to help safeguard your equipment so it remains usable and operationally fit during the colder months.
The following tips were developed to help you safely mitigate the effects of freezing temperatures on your equipment (as well as some things you don’t want to do during the winter)
Winterizing Portable Sinks and Hand Washing Stations
Portable sinks and hand washing stations become especially important during the cold weather months. Currently, the U.S. is in the midst of a “tripledemic,” with COVID, RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), and seasonal influenza circulating, making regular hand sanitation a must.
Take steps to winterize your portable sinks and hand washing stations by:
- Positioning them in areas that get direct exposure to the sun and are protected from the wind
- Placing a ¾-inch section of plywood beneath the sink or hand washing station. This will act as a barrier against frost. It’s best to use 20-inch by 30-inch sections so there’s no trip hazard.
- If possible, relocate the unit to an indoor location that’s heated and authorized for human occupancy.
- Consider replacing your sinks with a heated hand washing trailer or restroom trailer.
- Consider switching to hand sanitizer
Winterizing Portable Toilets
While it’s true that the materials used to construct portable toilets are robust enough to avoid damage from the cold, in extremely cold weather the liquid within porta-potty holding tanks may freeze. This is bad, because when water freezes, it expands, which can damage the unit.
This situation can be avoided by:
- Keeping the “blue” fresh. It’s important that the blend of “blue” liquid within the portable toilet tank contains a sufficient quantity of anti-freezing material. Your USS service technician will do this with every service but it might be helpful to increase your service to prevent freezing. We take extra care during the unpredictable winter months by ensuring our vehicles are inspected and prepared for cold temperatures so we are able to reach your site and provide service.
- Making use of the sun and avoiding the wind. Portable sanitation, like sinks and handwashing stations, will stay warmer and more resistant to freezing winds if they’re placed where direct sunlight can reach them and where exposure to wind is minimal.
Winterizing Holding Tanks
As temperatures drop, maintaining holding tanks at your site or trailer becomes more challenging. Make sure that the tank can be easily accessed by service technicians, so they ensure your holding tank has the right blend of anti-freezing chemicals to keep your tank from freezing. (At USS we only use biodegradable chemicals to make sure we don’t have a negative impact on the environment).
Steps to winterize your holding tanks:
- Keep holding tank access points cleared of snow and ice. Avoid piling snow in front of the tank or placing any other impediment that may block a technician from accessing it.
- Report any noise or smell emanating from the pump to your equipment vendor. This may indicate a blocked holding tank that will necessitate a service visit.
- If there’s any issue with the holding tank, do not unplug it. Wait for your service technician to pick up and/or replace the unit.
Have more questions about best practices for job site sanitation? See our articles below: