SANTA FE – Recreation staff on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) report widespread misuse of vault toilets, especially along the popular corridor that ends at the Santa Fe ski basin.
Too many visitors are dumping their trash in places it doesn’t belong, including the vault toilets at developed recreation sites.
Vault toilets are a good solution for sites without running water. The toilets are installed over an underground tank or vault and enclosed by a small building. Human waste is held in the underground vault and periodically pumped out to be hauled away for disposal.
Dumping trash in vault toilets makes it much more difficult to empty the septic tank and causes significant damage to restroom facilities.
“The additional cost of dealing with garbage in the vault toilets is almost 10 times what we are used to paying our septic service providers along the Hyde Park Road corridor,” SFNF Recreation Manager Karen Yori said. “Unfortunately, this takes our recreation dollars away from other programs and services that the public values and appreciates.”
While the SFNF is working on solutions to clean the toilets, the public is reminded to use designated trash cans only for their garbage. If trash cans are full, follow Leave No Trace principles by packing out your garbage and disposing of it at home.
Trash may attract wildlife and can be harmful to the environment if it is not properly disposed of.
If you plan to visit the SFNF, recreate responsibly and respect public lands. In the interest of public health and safety, please follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and comply with state public health orders to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
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