High-Tech Floating Toilets Open for Business on Lake Elsinore

Toilets use solar power to pump waste into holding tank.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Boaters were giving new floating toilets at Lake Elsinore good reviews Friday. The new restrooms were funded by a federal grant. Jacob Rascon reports from Lake Elsinore for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on May 10, 2013.

    Lake Elsinore boaters might be relieved to learn that new, high-tech, floating toilets are stationed around the lake for when shore is just too far away.

    The two toilets, launched earlier this week, are placed at remote spots in the lake that are far from the on-ground public restrooms so boaters won't have to white-knuckle it back to shore.

    When nature calls, a lake visitor can hop aboard one of the toilet barges and enter a small, red shack topped with solar panels. The visitor can take care of business, flush, and get back to fishing or swimming in the surrounding unspoiled water.

    The Riverside Press-Enterprise took photographs of the launch.

    It's a huge leap forward compared to the old floating toilets, said Sallie Davis, lead worker for lake operations for city of Lake Elsinore.

    "I am in love with these toilets," Davis said.

    And for good reason.

    The old ones were powerless portable toilets, like the blue plastic outhouses found at many outdoor concerts or construction sites, but on barges.

    "They weren't as fresh as these will be," she said. "That's a polite way of putting it."

    Emptying them was a messy affair.

    Davis and other crew members would periodically have to pull a plug out of the bottom of the filled excrement chamber to drain it.

    "You had to lift the lid and pull the plunger," she said. "I don't want to have to look at that. I'm ecstatic that it's going to be clean and fresh."

    In the new ones, the whole process is basically automatic. The high-tech toilets use lake water to flush the waste out of the bowl, and solar-powered pumps move it into 600-gallon tanks that can be towed to shore and emptied into sewage trucks.

    It's a far less hands-on experience.

    The upgraded floating toilets were given to Lake Elsinore by the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

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