Stinky Games

Few smells can be more distracting than THE rank aroma of human waste. So imagine what was going through the Washington Nationals pitchers’ minds when they entered their bullpen this past summer to that unique smell.

Their bullpen allows easy access to the Nationals Park service tunnel and is the best location for the sheer number of porta-potties needed to accommodate the 50,000 fans who watched a concert there the night before.

Who knows if it was the lingering smells from the porta-potty village or if the baseball gods were not smiling on the Nationals that night, but they went on to lose to the Phillies 10-4 with their relief pitchers allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings resulting in a stinky game all around.

Did the smell affect their ability to warm up? There’s really no way to know. However, Andy Christian, owner of the Florida Royal Restrooms franchise, Mike Usry president of Southland Organics, and Dale Wallace general manager of Green Way Products, a division of PolyPortables, LLC give us some ideas on what could have been done to prevent the lingering smell and what we can do to prevent them in the future.


“Mistakes happen to everyone,” says Christian. “We only own portable trailer restrooms so we know the ins and outs. There are different things that could have happened to cause the lingering smell, for example the tank could have overfilled and then spilled, or a pump truck exhaust could have blown into the area. It’s rare for a restroom trailer to stink, but if it goes untreated, you can get an unpleasant aroma. If it sits for a long time or for 2-3 months you get bugs in the tank and it will turn into a septic tank. Tanks need to be completely cleaned and flushed out.

“We clean ours out, clean the lines with chlorine and a proper amount of chloride. We ensure it is up to health code standard and sanitary for showers. We also spray out the roof of the tank with a gun. In our tanks, we use different wands and Walex products.”

Another facet of odor control is management. Christian recommends setting up a manager to oversee the logistics of getting the units to their proper location, and to ensure they are cleaned and pumped as needed. “If the units are used all day long, depending on the amount of traffic, you may need to go back out with fresh water, treat it and maybe pump it out again. Make sure that the walls are sprayed down and then pump it out again to keep the tanks clean. It’s all about the tank and the build up in the tank.”


“After they removed the toilets, some of the effluent may have spilled out of one of the toilets,” says Usry. “They probably hosed it down, but water won’t wash away that smell. You need to apply something to break it down and bind it. It is a simplistic chemical reaction and you need to prevent it from gassing off. You can’t mask it or fragrance the smell away. Our product would be great for it. You simply mix a gallon with 30 gallons of water, put it in a backpack sprayer and spray the area down.

“There was a similar situation at the San Francisco Giants where a line broke in the outfield. We sent some product over, they used it and were grateful. It worked to great effect, which is why we are used and reused in national parks and underground toilets that have no breathing room.


“I would’ve recommended Earth Works Water Treat, a product from our biological line. It’s 100 percent natural and organic,” says Wallace. “The odor-controlling technology is mined from the earth and looks like rich coffee grounds before it is further processed into a finished product. It works very much like activated carbon. It’s great for deodorizing any inanimate object and it definitely would have controlled the odor at the park. It’s safe for grass so it wouldn’t have harmed the turf. It also works well at carnivals and gets rid of odors caused by all the garbage and trash left in dumpsters and other waste collection sites safely. We like to see it used for septic tanks, landfills and livestock applications as well.”

Story by Jennifer Taylor

For more information, visit:
Southland Organics,
Green Way Products,

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