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SLC Public Utilities step up in wake of government shutdown to maintain public restrooms in forests and canyons

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 23:48:16-05

SALT LAKE CITY — It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Thanks to the government shutdown, the job maintaining public restrooms in Utah's popular canyons is now left to Salt Lake City Public Utilities.

Patrick Nelson is the Watershed Program Manager for the SLC Public Utilities Commission.

“A lot of our partners at the forest service are all on furlough so the team of watershed rangers been picking up the extra slack, extra workload during the holidays to keep things clean,” Nelson said.

The job includes maintaining walkways and changing toilet paper to keep the restrooms clean in our canyons.

It may not seem like Salt Lake City's responsibility, but since they get drinking water from these mountains, clean bathrooms are crucial.

“The snow you see right here will eventually melt and it’s so much better for us to have people using the restrooms than just out in the wild especially close to the streams. Restrooms make the world go ‘round up here in the watershed,” Nelson said.

A lot of backcountry skiers like Scott Spangler weren't aware that Salt Lake City has been stepping up to the plate.

“It's the small things, right? We got a nice little restroom here and you forget that those things get really nasty if there's not someone coming around,” Spangler said.

However, they're grateful that someone is.

“I'm glad it’s not me I'll be honest,” Spangler said.

No matter how long this government shutdown lasts, the bathrooms in the canyons will be clean.

“We have no intention of letting up until the forest service is back,” Nelson said.

Spangler, for one, is grateful.

“Thanks again because yeah the government shutdown sucks,” he said.

Salt Lake City's public utilities team said most people have been courteous and keeping the restrooms clean, making it so the extra work isn't too much to handle.