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Hiring Hoosiers: Lifting the Lid on the Porta Potty Industry

Posted: 5:30 AM, Nov 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-21 07:25:50-05
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Hiring Hoosiers is an initiative from RTV6 that works to connect Hoosiers to employment opportunities, career development resources, training programs and educational paths. Learn more about Hiring Hoosiers and see new stories weekdays at 6 a.m. on RTV6.

INDIANAPOLIS — Hiring Hoosiers is RTV6’s initiative to expose you to career opportunities you may not have ever considered- especially the jobs that may require you to get your hands dirty.

So, just imagine the Indianapolis 500 without any porta potties. Spectators would struggle to enjoy the event without somewhere to go to the bathroom.

It’s a dirty job, but one we couldn’t function without. It allows for advancement and the opportunity to provide for your family.

“Not a lot of people know that our industry exists,” says Stevie Dee, the Director of Marketing and Brand at Service Sanitation, “We kind of appear in the middle of the night or when they need us.”

It’s an important convenience that most people don’t think about until it’s absolutely necessary.

“If you took those things away, what would the event actually look like?” asks Dee, “And that’s probably something that people don’t always think about, and they should.”

It’d probably be really gross. But is cleaning out porta potties as miserable as it would seem?

“It’s a different animal, literally. I mean the things you see…” says David Santaguida, a Service Sanitation Branch Manager, “You overlook the smell part of it, and you get in, and you get it done.”

Alongside Santaguida, RTV6’s Meredith Barack just had to see, and smell, for herself.

“I think the misconception is, I think people think we just go in there just bare hands, and just start cleaning these and think ‘how gross!’ But there is proper equipment for the job, and I mean we have rubber gloves, and we have safety glasses,” Santaguida explains.

While a lot goes into the porta potties literally, “easily a cellphone per event,” says Santaguida, “I have actually sucked up a squirrel in my wand before.”

A lot of work also goes into placing them all over central Indiana.

“So when we pick up a special event, and we pull out every portajohn that you will see here, we evacuate the tanks, and we will usually clean them out a little bit. Once we get them all cleaned out, the garbage picked up, we’ll start loading them onto the trailer, and they’ll get shipped back to the yard where they get sanitized, and pressure washed and thrown back into the clean pile to go out to another event,” says Santaguida, who has been with the company for 15 years.

He has also been promoted numerous times, allowing him to provide for his wife and four daughters.

“When you stop and think about it, people are always going to have to use the restroom, and the need to build permanent facilities is not always feasible where a lot of these events, or on construction sites, are happening,” adds Dee.

All of this results in job security, and gratitude from the public seldom found in many industries.

“It’s kind of flattering to me,” says Santaguida, “to stand there and listen to people say how nice it is to have restrooms, and you realize hearing that how important it is.”

Click here if you're interested in joining the Service Sanitation team.

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