In this video, we’ll review the basic steps required to service a typical restroom trailer in the Service Sanitation fleet.
Step 1: Pump
To begin, the first thing you’ll need to do when you arrive onsite is to review your work order. On the work order, it should say whether you’re to perform a “pump” of the trailer or a “pump and fill”. It’ll then list the trailer number next to the task. Before starting, confirm you’re at the correct trailer by verifying that the trailer number tag, located on the front of the trailer, matches your paperwork.
Once confirmed, begin to unravel the hose. With the hose loose, locate the dump valve on the trailer. Keep in mind each trailer should have only one dump. This valve is often found on the front of most small trailers, but may also be located on the back or sides, for larger or older trailer models.
After you’ve located the dump valve, you’ll want to begin by taking the cap off and securing your hose to the 2-inch cam lock. Please note, there are still a few trailers in our fleet that may require an additional fitting or reducer for you to connect your 2-inch hose to it. These fittings are often found inside the trailer service compartment or inside your truck. Please use them whenever possible and don’t forget to return them when finished.
Now that you’ve properly secured your hose to the dump valve, you can open it by pulling up on a standard gate valve or by turning the handle on a ball valve, so it runs parallel with the hose. Once opened, you can head to your truck to activate the PTO, and the waste will quickly drain from the trailer’s holding tank and into your truck.
As the tank begins to empty, your hose will start to wiggle aggressively on the ground. This is a good sign that the tank is almost empty, and the pumping process is almost complete. With the truck’s PTO still engaged and the valve still open, you can now carefully remove the hose from the fittings and hold it under the valve to catch any residual waste that may still be in the line. Once the lines are empty, you may close the valve and recap it.
The last step of the pumping process is to reattach your wand, go into the trailer, and insert the wand directly into each toilet, wiping down the toilet seat once done. This important and often overlooked step helps collect any additional waste that may have mounded directly under each toilet’s flapper valve. By skipping this important step, we run the risk of toilets prematurely overflowing and clogging before the waste tank is full.
After pumping each individual stall with the wand, the pumping process is finished. It’s now time to wind up the hose and return the wand to its secured location on the truck.
With the pumping procedure complete, it’s time to fill the onboard freshwater tank if specified by your work order. Keep in mind, some trailers may be plumbed directly into a fresh water source by way of a garden hose. If that’s the case, you won’t need to fill the freshwater tank. Always reference your work order to see if the trailer you’re servicing requires the onboard water tank to be filled.
If you’re required to fill the tank, locate the service door located on the side of the trailer. These doors are often found on the opposite side of the entrance doors. Once inside, locate the fill line. This hose can often be found attached to the top of the freshwater holding tank. Keep in mind, some of our older trailers are retrofitted with rectangular holding tanks. These tanks will not have a hose fill line. You’ll simply need to locate the fill cap attached at the top of the tank and stick your hose into it. With your hose properly attached or secured inside the tank, you can open the valve on your hose and any other valves on the water line and watch the tank fill to the top.
It’s important that you ALWAYS take the time to watch the tank fill and never attempt to multitask by doing something else. Doing so could result in the tank overflowing, causing expensive and sometimes unrepairable damage to the trailer. After the tank is full, close the valves on your hose and fill line and then recap the tank if required.
Now that the trailer’s waste tank is pumped and the freshwater tank is full, it’s time to prime the waste tank by adding the appropriate additives to keep it smelling fresh for its next round of users.
To do this, we’ll need to add 1 packet of blue per stall for a smaller trailer such as a Regal and 2 packets per stall for a larger trailer such as a Blue Star or Presidential. For example, if you’re servicing a Blue Star trailer equipped with 5 toilets and 2 urinals, you’ll need to add a total of 14 blue packets. These blue packets should only be added to the tank by flushing them down the toilets. Never add them to a sink or urinal.
If blue packets aren’t available, liquid blue can be used as a last resort option. You would need to add the amount of a standard size bottle of water, about 16 ounces of liquid blue for each stall. Adding the additional blue for the urinals, by flushing through the toilets only. Remember, liquid blue should only be used as a last resort because it splashes and can be very messy, staining the toilet seat and surrounding floor. Please do your best to flush any residual blue down the toilet and wipe up anything that may still be on the toilet or floor.
After you’ve added the appropriate amount of blue to each toilet, you’ll need to flush each toilet and urinal. You’ll also need to run each sink for a total of 5-10 seconds. In doing so, you’ll recreate the water seals in each of the P-Traps that were previously drained when you pumped the waste tank. Remember, these traps provide an odor proof barrier between the waste tank and the interior of the trailer. Forgetting this simple step will lead to future complaints from the customer.
The last step in the service procedure will be to restock the trailer with the appropriate supplies including soap, paper towels, and toilet paper. When pouring soap, please do your best to avoid spills and wipe up any messes you may make. Be sure to restock paper towels in the appropriate dispensers and place fresh toilet paper rolls under the sink. Never leave a pile of paper towels out by the sink, as they will often get wet or get used at a faster rate. If necessary, you may squirt a small amount of cabana spray into the urinal to freshen up. For a quick tip, avoid spraying cabana spray on anything else inside the trailer as it can make things sticky, attract bugs, and damage the interior. Lastly, if a janitorial service is specified on your work order, you’ll need to sweep out the floors, empty garbage cans, wipe down countertops, handles, faucets, and foot pedals.
Now that you’ve successfully pumped, filled, primed, and restocked the trailer, perform a quick inspection of the trailer, checking the lights, railings, locks and toilet seats for any loose parts. If you find something minor that you think you can fix, go ahead and use the tools in your bag. If there is a major problem with the trailer, contact dispatch and have them put in a work order for a trailer technician to fix the problem.
Upon completion of a trailer service, note your work order with anything that would make your job, or your co-workers jobs easier the next time around including things such as over usage notes or authorization numbers. Finally, before leaving, be sure to sign the date sticker. This can often be found inside the service door. If no sticker is present, go ahead and add one. Signing the date sticker serves as proof to the customer that the service was completed.