A wee little problem for the Tea Party’s party?

It may take twice this many portable toilets to withstand the onslaught of Tea Partiers tomorrow in Searchlight.
Photo: lucianvenutian / Flickr

Organizers of Saturday's Tea Party "Showdown in Searchlight" rally told the Las Vegas Sun they felt 38 portable toilets would be "adequate" for the event, which is expected to draw anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people.


Let's say the Showdown lasts four hours. And let's say only 5,000 people arrive. If that's the case, then MesaWasteServices.com, an online "toilet rental co-op," recommends renting 40 toilets.

Now let's say the Showdown (still four hours) actually draws 10,000 guests. Well, in that case, the recommended number of rental toilets jumps to 75.

(The Mesa Waste Services site has a handy chart where you can plot the "duration of event" against the "average crowd" and come up with a rental recommendation. Hours of fun.)

But these suggestions come from a pro-toilet-rental site, so they're probably a little inflated, right?

From a pure waste-accommodation standpoint, 38 toilets should be able to contain the Tea Party's volumes. An average porta-potty holds around 70 gallons — with 38 toilets, that means 2,660 gallons of waste storage Saturday.

An average adult produces 50 grams of solid waste every eight hours, and .5 liters of urine in that same time period. If 5,000 people show up and stay for eight hours, they'd produce just over 726 gallons of waste — well within the storage capacity.

Now the high-end estimate: 10,000 people produce, on average, 1,432 gallons of waste in an eight-hour period. Still well within Saturday's portable-toilet storage capacity.

Of course, these are averages. There's no knowing how many people will show up, how long they'll stay and how much tea they'll drink.


Abigail Goldman

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