Looking For A Public Restroom In Austin? City Council Approves 10 Prefab Toilets

Dec 13, 2018

"Pit stops for pedestrians" in the form of prefabricated restrooms will be making their way to Austin streets, City Council decided Thursday.

Council members authorized a contract to provide up to 10 restrooms over the next five years. The first two will be installed downtown – one in the parking lot of the Municipal Court Building at 700 East Seventh St. and the other on Brazos Street near Fifth.

The city awarded the contract to Wholesale & MFR PVF Inc. for up to $1,350,000. 

You may have already seen a portable toilet floating around Austin.

Marked with the city seal and signs that make clear the toilet is "FREE," the portable restroom in a white trailer-looking box has been making the rounds for more than a year – sticking to a 5-mile radius of the state Capitol.

In October, Austin City Council approved a contract that would keep the existing portable restroom in operation. Cleaning and maintenance of the restroom cost $115,000 a year.

The city started looking into testing a free public restroom after bodies of water like Shoal Creek were found to have unsafe levels of fecal bacteria.

In a 2016 interview with KUT, the Austin Watershed Department's Chris Herrington said while many people blame the homeless for the human waste, it's not just them. "We all know when the bars close at 2 o'clock, there's nowhere to go."