How Do Restroom Trailers Work?

How Do Restroom Trailers Work
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How Do Restroom Trailers Work?

You likely never think about how the restrooms in your home or traditional office building work unless you are exceptionally curious.

Restroom trailers are quite a bit different from your standard brick-and-mortar bathroom, and that can raise many questions. After all, where does everything go? How does it actually work?

Well, we happen to know the answers to those questions and many more. We decided to unlock the mysteries of the universe, or at least of restroom trailers.


No, no, no, not that kind of anatomy…we are not your high school biology teacher, and by now, you should hopefully know about all of that. We mean the anatomy of a restroom trailer.

Most trailers have standard bathroom essentials: toilets, sinks, lights, and, in some cases, showers. From the user experience perspective, a restroom trailer isn’t all that different from any other restroom they’ve ever used. The differences are in what’s going on behind the scenes.

Water and Waste

When you flush the toilet in a portable restroom trailer or use the sink to wash your hands, much like in your typical bathroom, water flushes waste out, and clean water comes in. However, unlike your toilet, sink, or shower at home, waste does not go directly into the city's sewer system; it goes into a holding tank.

A restroom trailer typically has two or three water tanks. One holds fresh, clean water for refilling toilets, which runs in the sinks at the handwashing stations, and the other contains wastewater. In cases where there are three tanks, separate tanks for toilet and sink wastewater are provided.

These tanks make managing wastewater much easier, as transporting wastewater for proper processing is simply moving tanks to and from the trailer. Now, how are you supposed to know where to put the wastewater? That is the question of the day.

Dispose of Wastewater Properly

We understand that there can be many questions and confusion surrounding how to dispose of waste in your septic tanks, and we’re here to help. There are a few options to consider when choosing how to dispose of wastewater in your trailer:

1. Go To a Treatment Plant:

If you’ve purchased a portable restroom trailer, you can take your trailer to a wastewater treatment plant near one. One of the great benefits of trailers is their superior transportability, so you can drive your tank right on. These facilities can empty your tank and send you on your way to your next location.

*Important Note: Moving trailers with full waste tanks can be dangerous as it can make them too heavy. We recommend option two as the safest method.

2. Use a Waste Removal Service:

The other option you have is to call a septic tank pumping business. These are ideal, particularly if you are not stationed near a wastewater treatment facility because they can come right to you. They typically roll up in a truck with a large vacuum connected to a tank. They will suck the wastewater from your tank into their own and drive away to process that themselves. When renting a portable restroom trailer, pumper services are typically required from the vendor.

Removal services typically charge a fee for on-site waste removal; however, this allows you to skip the journey to the treatment plant. At the treatment plant, water from trailers joins the water from every other traditional restroom in your area for processing.

Electricity and Energy

In your home or office, it’s apparent that the energy source for the lights to come on and the air conditioning to run is the electrical system the building as a whole runs on. But what about a trailer? It isn’t a building hooked into the standard electrical grid, so how does everything stay on and running? There are a few answers to this:

Firstly, a trailer can be hooked up to a power generator, much like the ones you would use as a backup if the power went out in your house during a storm. These generators provide the essential electricity needed to keep the trailer's functions running.

Another option is a direct hookup to a high-voltage outlet. You can find these outside or even inside many buildings. Long power cords connect the trailer to the power generated from the building. This means that, like any traditional restroom you use, the functions run on the energy from the standard power grid.

There are also solar-assisted trailers on the market. These use solar panels to aid in the energy production of units so that not all of the power comes from a generator or outlet. These trailers offer a more sustainable energy alternative that reduces electrical costs and the burden on less sustainable energy sources.

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