History of the Industry

The portable sanitation industry has a rich history of innovation and growth!

WoodAndyGumpPortable restrooms have been used since the 1940s during the height of World War II, with the earliest units being made out of wood and metal. They were needed to provide sanitation to meet the needs of rapidly constructed military bases, industrial operations that were booming, and support similar activities associated with the rapid movement of people into areas where the infrastructure was inadequate.

footer-logoThe PSAI Trade Association was formed in the United States in the early 1970s to serve the common interests of the growing industry and to standardize services and communication. By the early 1990s, after many years of invention, innovation and perfection, portable restrooms were more commonplace than ever before and the marketplace begin introducing new offerings such as Restroom Trailers, VIP Units, Portable Water Systems and Solar Powered Units.

In the new millennium, portable sanitation is recognized as an integral part of society in many parts of the world. Construction sites, parks, residential home building and special event venues all were expected, and now legislated, to have portable restrooms. The PSAI’s growth has been steady and strong, and includes international membership spanning six continents.

CoverHistory of PSAI_Page_01Read the History of the PSAI published in 2012.




The PSAI’s Historical Milestones

  • 1970 – A group of business leaders in the portable sanitation industry meet at the Marriott Twin Towers in Washington, D.C. to discuss mutual problems and issues. Out of this meeting emerges the framework for the formation of a formal trade association – The Portable Sanitation Association International.
  • 1971 – The first PSAI Convention is held in New Orleans, Louisiana, managed by a committee elected during the first gathering in Washington, D.C. The Chairman and Executive Committee, later to become the Board of Directors, choose a professional management firm, Executive Consultants, Inc., to manage the business affairs of the Association.
  • 1985 – The PSAI provides testimony and input into the hearings and writings of the OSHA Field Worker’s Sanitation Regulations team setting sanitation standards for farm workers.
  • 1987 – ANSI Standards Z4.1, Z4.3, Z4.4 related to worker sanitation are successfully revised and published through the coordination of PSAI. The standards establish a 1:10 ratio for number of units per number of workers.
  • 1988 – Independent studies in construction and recreation by the University of Missouri document the economic and health benefits resulting from the use of additional, properly located portable sanitation units. The “Portable Restroom Requirements at Special Events and Crowd Gatherings-Sanitation and Health Officials Guide” guidelines are developed.
  • 1992 – The PSAI initiates the Portable Sanitation Worker Certification program that serves as an impartial measure of a portable sanitation worker’s competence and understanding of the sanitary and health requirements mandatory to the industry.
  • AndyGump1993 – The M.Z. “Andy” Gump Distinguished Service Award is established as a lifetime achievement award honoring those who have improved the image of the industry and created innovative approaches for sanitation needs through new and improved products and services.
  • 12586158_xl1998 – The www.psai.org website is created to better maintain communications with Members, the portable sanitation industry and the markets we serve.
  • 2001 – The Service Technician of the Year award is established as an annual award acknowledging the Service Technicians who actively embody the highest standards of our industry worldwide.
  • PSE Marketing 22003 –An international collaborative agreement is signed between Portable Sanitation Europe Ltd, the UK’s trade association, the Portable Sanitation Germany Committee – Division of the BDE, the German Waste Management Association, and the Ontario Canada Sewage and Liquid Waste Haulers Association (OASIS). These organizations agree that the furtherance of the portable sanitation industry will be served by a great degree of collaboration and co-operation between organizations.
  • PSAI_Certification_Logo_PMS_square2004 – The PSAI produces a service technician training video to complement the PSAI Certification Program .  The special events requirements for portable sanitation are revised with the approval of the University of Missouri.
  • 2007 – The State of Illinois approves the PSAI Certification as meeting the licensing requirements for the state. The Illinois Department of Health is currently revising the Illinois Private Sewage Disposal code to reflect this change.
  • board_JeffWigley2012 – After the departure of long-time staff, the PSAI’s Board President, Jeff Wigley, steps into an interim operational leadership position and oversees a comprehensive Member survey and planning meeting in Jersey City, New Jersey. Three goals come from the meeting: improve the website, create a better platform for Members to choose benefits and services, and create an online PSAI Certification program.
  • 2013 – Tiered Membership is introduced giving Members choices in their membership investment. A new website is launched to improve online communication worldwide.
  • KarleenPhoto2014 – The PSAI welcomes new Executive Director Karleen Kos. A comprehensive long-term strategic plan is adopted. The 2014 Convention & Trade Show is moved to March per the request of Suppliers and Operators.
  • COVER CODE OF EXCELLENCE COLORFINAL_PSAI_CodeOfExcellence_Final_4C2015 – The PSAI launched its Industry Resource Directory, an updated and improved volume containing information operators need at their fingertips. This publication replaced the longstanding “Industry Catalog,” which had been a PSAI staple since the 1970s.
  • 2015 – Following a period of consensus building, the PSAI issued the industry’s first comprehensive Code of Excellence.