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Americans W/ Disabilities (ADA Compliant) Portable Toilet
ADA Compliant Porta Potty
An important distinction to note is that “ADA Compliant” is NOT synonymous with “Wheelchair Accessible.” The specifications for ADA compliance can be found in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG), Appendix A, Section 36 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Wheelchair Accessible” usually indicates a ramped or ground level entrance with a wide enough door for a wheelchair to back into. Doors are not required to be hinged, so closing the door unassisted can sometimes be a problem.
“ADA Compliant”, however, generally means reinforced construction, ramped or ground level and wheelchair accessible entrance, spring loaded magnetic door that closes automatically, reinforced grab bars, and enough interior space for a wheelchair to made a 360 degree turn.
To ensure ADA compliance, ask the portable toilet company for specifications on the unit before placing your order. You will also find manufacturers. websites to be great sources of information.
If you are a new customer to this industry, you will find that the majority of the service providers you interact with have a staff that is very knowledgeable about industry standards and regulatory requirements. However, if you are planning an event or need placement of units that require ADA compliance, you might be interested in the following excerpt from an October 18, 1993 letter to the Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI) by Stewart B. Oneglia, Chief, Coordination and Review Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice:
.... Under section 4.1.2(6) of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), at least five percent of single user portable toilets clustered at a single location must be accessible. In order to be accessible under the ADA, these toilets must comply with either section 4.22 (Toilet Rooms) or 4.23 (Bathrooms, Bathing Facilities, and Shower Rooms) of ADAAG....
… The Department of Justice does not grant grace periods for enforcement of the ADA, and accessible portable toilets should have been made available where portable toilets were provided as of the effective date of the Act. However, you should note that it would be the public accommodation, commercial facility, or public entity utilizing a noncomplying toilet that would be liable for violating the ADA (rather than the manufacturer of the toilet)..
Since it is generally the customer’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the ADA, ask the service provider for specs on the unit before placing your order; or request manufacturer and model information and go to the manufacturer’s web site. You will find these web sites to be valuable sources of technical information.
Special Portable Sanitation Needs
Special Needs are requirements that deviate from standard facilities and services. They can be anything from accommodating the visually impaired to needing an enclosure with multiple urinals to staking units to the ground in high wind areas, needing a unit that can be towed behind a pick-up truck for a mobile crew, or use of alternative environmentally friendly products.
Many current industry standards have evolved from special needs: The ADA Compliant unit is an obvious example, locking units resulted from the increase of women working in the trades, the variety of handwash stations offered by almost every portable toilet manufacturer is the result of state OSHA requirements for separate handwash facilities on construction sites, many portable restroom companies offer containment trays that meet local “run-off” ordinances, and, currently, free-standing urinals that are the rage in Europe are making their way to the U.S.
The portable sanitation industry, as a whole, is constantly evolving to meet new regulatory requirements and increasingly sophisticated customer expectations. Don’t hesitate to ask the portable toilet service provider if an unusual request can be met. You will find that most are very willing to try to accommodate your requests.