The Price of Public Sanitation

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times featured the “Portland Loo”, a public toilet model used and marketed by the city of Portland, OR. The Portland Loo solves many of the problems associated with urban public toilets in the United States: cleanliness, graffiti, damage, and facility abuse. The LA Times article also touts the toilet’s relatively low cost: a $60,000 installation fee, followed by $1,200 monthly for maintenance. To read the entire article, click here.

The article serves as a welcome and useful reminder that public sanitation is not and cannot be free. Thankfully, SOIL public toilets do not come with a $60,000 price tag, but our public sanitation program does represent the most costly aspect of our operations. For this reason, SOIL has launched a campaign to keep our public toilets open. Our public toilets provide essential services for thousands of people living in Port-au-Prince tent camps, nearly three years after the earthquake. While many other emergency sanitation projects have closed their doors, SOIL will not shut down its public toilets until viable alternatives are found. We ask you to join us in keeping our emergency sanitation program running. Consider donating to SOIL’s Global Giving September Challenge. All donations to SOIL’s Global Giving campaign for public toilets will be matched $1 for $1 throughout the month of September.

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