Weekly Flush: Professor Fights Septic Cartel With Competition-Driving App

Also in this week's septic-related news, a septic truck rollover in North Carolina requires firefighters to use extrication equipment to rescue the driver

Weekly Flush: Professor Fights Septic Cartel With Competition-Driving App

Apparently in Dakar, Senegal, the septic system services industry is run as a cartel, and an associate professor out of the University of Virginia is fighting it with an app that some are calling “Uber for Poop.”

Typically in Dakar, you either hire someone with a shovel and a bucket, or you visit a parking lot behind the national football stadium where all the vacuum truck drivers hang out and fix prices. When one of them offers a price, it’s final. They’ve all agreed not to compete and to keep prices high.

That’s where the app comes in. Associate professor Molly Lipscomb and a team of researchers developed and marketed software that sends out a call for work by texting all the drivers at the same time to see who offers the cheapest service. In fairly short order, competition started taking shape. Now, drivers were getting more work and citizens are choosing the sanitary vacuum truck option over the shovel guy.

A recent septic truck rollover near Black Creek, North Carolina, required members of the fire department to use extrication equipment to rescue the trapped driver.

State Trooper Dustin Wuebbles tells The Wilson Times that the driver was cited for failure to maintain lane control and driving while his license was revoked. “He ran off the road to the right and overcorrected. The load shifted, causing the truck to roll over.”

A dent in the roof left the driver trapped inside the cab, and firefighters were able to free him in about 10 minutes.

There are mobile restrooms … and then there are motorized restrooms. Seriously. The World’s Fastest Toilet is documented in the Guinness Book of World Records, and competition is fierce. Check out the top competitors and watch videos of the thundering thrones in action, including one Boeing-powered unit that can reach 70 mph. And don’t be alarmed when you hear the rumble. It’s not coming from the restroom — it is the restroom. 

The fallout from two airborne Colorado restrooms hasn’t ended. Karleen Kos, frequent champion of portable sanitation and Portable Sanitation Association International executive director, recently wrote another takedown of an associate editor for Vice. The Vice article under attack is one that glorified the windstorm in Colorado that sent two restrooms spiraling into the sky — gleefully abusing the units that, according to the writer, bring misery to so many. Kos valiantly defended the portable restroom, and the Vice editor conceded that she made good points and graciously published the piece. You can read it here.


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