Small Septic Truck or Supersized Restroom Truck? This Pumper Says It's Both.

Small Septic Truck or Supersized Restroom Truck? This Pumper Says It's Both.

Richard and Carole "Muzzy" Chiarella in their shop. (Photo by Kevin Blackburn)

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Phil Chiarella, 42, is a hybrid in the pumping business. He’s a portable restroom operator, but as a member of the fourth generation of a family in the septic pumping business, he’s also a septic pumper. His business is PJ’s PortaJohns and Septic Service in Danbury, Connecticut.

He even has a hybrid truck designed to be well suited as a portable restroom service vehicle and a septic pumping rig. “I knew what I wanted. I figured out the specs and had Amthor build it,” Chiarella says.

The truck is a 2008 Ford F-750 that he bought used in 2015. He had Amthor International put a new, steel 1,800-gallon wastewater and 400-gallon freshwater tank on it with a Jurop/Chandler pump.

“It’s set up to do septic and/or toilets. It can carry a couple of restrooms on the back,” Chiarella says.

It’s not the truck that goes on the road every day for this business with 200-plus portable restrooms (mostly PolyJohn units) and three JAG Mobile Solutions restroom trailers, but it fits this company’s needs well.

Chiarella — whose parents Richard and Carole “Muzzy” Chiarella are celebrating their 50th anniversary with Danbury Septic Tank Service — says only about 20% of his business is septic pumping. The bulk of his business is with portable restrooms for construction sites and special events.

For that work he has two smaller trucks: a 2016 Dodge Ram 5500 with an 800-gallon wastewater and 350-gallon freshwater aluminum tank built by Amthor International with a National Vacuum Equipment pump, and a 2011 Ford F-350 built out by Robinson Vacuum Tanks with a 400-gallon waste and 200-gallon freshwater aluminum tank and a Conde (Westmoor) pump. The Dodge can carry eight portable restrooms on the back. The Ford can carry six.

Sometimes the smaller trucks off-load wastewater to the hybrid truck rather than making a trip to the wastewater treatment plant with just a few hundred gallons.

Chiarella started his business in 2006 with a $10,000 used truck and eight portable toilets that he bought unassembled. Now that his company has grown, he buys the toilets ready to use.

“When you get busy, you don’t have time to put them together yourself,” he says.

The secret to his growth, he says, is good service, always providing a way for the restroom users to wash their hands and giving customers good reasons for continued support.

“You’ve got to keep the restrooms clean and smelling good. That’s the key,” he says.


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