Editor’s Note: The following is the fourth in an ongoing series about preparations for the full solar eclipse on Aug. 21 in eastern Idaho.
IDAHO FALLS — When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go — and Idaho Falls and Rexburg are making sure they’ve got you covered.
As Aug. 21 approaches, and with it the eclipse, locals and visitors are gearing up for the big event. But many may be overlooking one crucial thing. What to do when nature calls.
“In early spring, our Parks & Recreation Department ordered extra porta-potties to place in the parks that we anticipate will be heavily used,” Idaho Falls spokeswoman Kerry Hammon said.
The extra porta-potties will be concentrated mostly in parks that have been converted into overnight camping grounds. Parks such as South Tourist Park, Noise Park and Sandy Downs.
“We have heard from various sources that every porta-pottie in the State of Idaho has been reserved for the eclipse weekend,” Hammon told EastIdahoNews.com.
The city of Rexburg reserved 100 extra porta-potties in preparation for the eclipse, Rexburg Public Works Director Keith Davidson said.
“We have bathroom facilities in our parks, but we’re still putting in extra porta-potties at different locations,” Davidson told EastIdahoNews.com.
It’s no surprise that 500,000 plus people can generate a lot of poop. Even with all the extra porta-potties, it’s all going to have to go somewhere and that will tax city infrastructure — particularly the sewer systems.
Davidson said Rexburg works with multiple companies to pump and haul the waste water to Rexburg’s water treatment facility. He said he expects the facility to be able to handle all the extra volume, but if it can’t, the waste water will be sent to Idaho Falls for treatment.
Hammon and Davidson said they fully expect their city sewer systems to handle the extra waste. However, septic systems are a concern.
Eastern Idaho Public Health recommends that property owners (individuals and businesses) that use septic systems assess their system and determine if it needs to be pumped before the event to avoid overloading it. Porta-potties will also need to be pumped regularly. A list of permitted septic tank pumpers can be found at www.EIPH.Idaho.gov.
Eastern Idaho Public Health has provided a list of things locals and visitors should be aware of for the eclipse. Including: food safety, drinking water safety, disposal of sewage, disposal of solid waste/trash and safety and preparedness.
For more information about the upcoming eclipse, visit www.eastidahoeclipse.com.
Lauren Steinbrecher, KSTU
Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com columnist
Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com