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Portable Toilet Pumping A Busy Job

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Portable Toilet Pumping A Busy Job

By Chris Barclay of NZPA in Christchurch 

There's no sitting down on the job for Gary Jackson, two days into what could only be described as a crappy occupation he realises speed is of the essence.

"It takes 20 or 30 seconds to clean one out," he said while pumping out portable toilets at Pioneer Stadium -- one of Christchurch's welfare centres for those displaced by last week's savage earthquake.

"It depends on how bad it is but it takes about that long. Some people throw their rubbish in them. I'm only new to the job but even I know they're not designed for that."

Five years ago "Kenny" became a household name in Australia, thanks to a quirky feature film focusing on his career in waste management.

But Mr Jackson refused to indulge in toilet humour.

Keeping the city's growing conglomeration of portaloos -- 800 and counting -- functioning and hygienic is serious business for the man who, perhaps helpfully, lives among the sulphurous aromas of Rotorua.

His initiation involved emptying out about 70 120-litre capacity toilets positioned in the ravaged coastal suburb of Sumner during his first 12-hour shift.

And with another 317 portable toilets due to arrive in Christchurch today, Jackson will be busy at Hirepool until he heads home to Rotorua this weekend, to prepare for a permanent shift south.

"I go back on Friday. I pack up my house and my wife then we're back here to live," he said.


"After the last quake (September 4) I got offered a job down here and thought why not? We just wanted a change. I've lived in the north all my life, so why not try the south?"

But surely the missus has gone septic on the relocation after last Tuesday's earth shattering events?

"Nah, she's more keen than ever. The city needs to be rebuilt, they need people to do it. This could happen anywhere -- Rotorua's right on a fault line," Jackson said.

On his way to dump 80 to 90 toilets' worth of excrement at the Kaiapoi waste transfer station, Mr Jackson said he was in awe of the Cantabrians resilience in the face of adversity.

"I've found them to be absolutely amazing considering what's happened," he said.

"It's a privilege to be able to help."

So are there any perks of the job, perhaps your own personal enclosed potty in the backyard for these inconvenient times?

"No staff member has one of these," he said. "They've all gone to the places where they're required."


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