Do Bathrooms Come Standard? How is Waste Water Stored and/or Removed?

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Many first-time mobile office seekers have serious questions pertaining to restroom facilities: Will I have to haul in a portable toilet? Use the woods? Make a beeline for the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts lavatory? On the other hand, does it already come equipped with indoor plumbing?


The short answer is: It depends on the distributor. Some companies, such as ModSpace in Boston, Triumph Modular of Littleton, Mass., and Williams-Scotsman of Baltimore, provide mobile offices both with and without bathrooms, depending on each customer’s needs and budget. Triumph Modular, for example, provides an 8-by-24-foot office trailer featuring a 6-by-3-foot powder room with facing commode and sink, placed at the center of a 24-foot wall to allow ample room for a countertop at one end of the office and a large table at the other.


Other mobile office companies offer no lavatory options. “Our mobile office containers do not come with bathrooms,” said Troy Hudson, sales specialist at Container Technology, Inc. of Morrow, Ga.


“They can certainly be installed in a container office, but it can be tough to do because the interior floor needs to be raised to allow somewhere for the plumbing to go, or the container needs to be mounted on blocks/pillars so the plumbing can be run underneath.”


You could also consider purchasing a separate restroom trailer. Separate restroom facilities provide ready-to-go fixtures so you don’t have to worry about installation. They also free up office space in the trailer and allow for roomier facilities. In addition, going with a separate restroom trailer will eliminate conflicts between bathroom and business activities within the same space. Above all, investing in a separate restroom trailer provides users with more comfortable accommodations. Companies like Montondo Trailer LLC of Englewood, Fla., and Elliott of Peterborough, England, provide full lines of mobile restroom and shower trailers of varying sizes and configurations, from single-stall to multi-stall.


Just because your mobile office unit comes with a toilet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s convenient. Once the fixtures are in place, wastewater storage and removal is the next big hurdle. To avoid the high costs of tapping into the water and sewer system and getting a cascade of water bills, many mobile offices use wastewater-holding tanks. “Our restrooms have holding tanks so it’s environmentally friendly, and our water supply is trucked in daily,” said Marc Dube, group sales and customer service manager at Super Tours LLC of Charlestown, Mass., for which ModSpace set up a double mobile office trailer as a passenger waiting room. A tank truck removes the wastewater weekly and disposes it at a wastewater treatment plant.


Callahead Corp., based in New York City, manufactures polyethylene wastewater holding tanks (the tanks are black to conceal the content inside). These tanks range from 50 to 300 gallons and are designed to lay flat in a crawl space under an office trailer or mobile restroom station. An alarm system to prevent overflowing is also available.


Satellite Shelters of Cleveland, Ohio, has a “fresh flush” system available for some of their mobile office models. “This is connected to a trailer with a built-in restroom, which includes a 100-gallon fresh-water tank inside and a 300-gallon wastewater tank outside,” said Branch Manager Joe Alexander. “However, customers will have to hire an outside company to come in and empty the waste and fill the tank.”