Boatramp Restroom Facilities
The National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, will replace existing portable chemical toilets (porta-lets) with prefabricated vault restroom structures at various boatramps throughout the park. The units will be adjacent to or within the modern parking lots at each boatramp.
The prefabricated will be totally handicap accessible, and will be unisex. The new restrooms will be a dark brown color siding with a low gable roof, evocative of wooden restroom facilities found in many state and federal parks. New units will be located in the same area at the boatramps where we currently have porta-lets. Porta-lets have been provided at the boatramps for over 30 years as a basic amenity for our park visitors.
These new structures will only require a concrete slab as a base. No other foundation is needed. For remote units, beyond city utility hookup, a below grade holding tank (vault) will be installed that will be regularly pumped, similar to current circumstances with the porta-lets. Some locations will require only a single unit, while other locations will require double units.
Archaeological clearances will be undertaken for units with holding tanks.
The prefabricated structures offer many advantages for placement and use in a park setting;
• First, while they are a concrete structure, they are reversible and can be removed if needed to restore the landscape to pre-installation conditions.
• Second, the structures are more sustainable for park operations than the current plastic porta-lets. During flood events, the current portable units must be removed by park staff. The new structures, are substantial enough that they will withstand flood events and will be sustainable for cleaning and maintenance. The new structures will allow park staff to attend other flood preparation tasks in a timely manner. The concrete surfaces of the unit make clean-up easy.
• Third, the new units are designed to be vandal resistant. The current plastic units are frequently the target of vandalism. In 2006 there were 9 reported incidents. In 2007 there were 10 reported incidents. In 2008, there were 4 incidents in the first 10 weeks. Case incident reports include; arson, overturning, damage from vehicle ramming, graffiti, and gunshot damage. Units have also been swamped in the Potomac River and the canal. The overturning, swamping, and arson cause environmental cleanup concerns from the chemical spills and melted plastic. Replacement for portable units starts at $600 for each single unit, and $1200 for handicap units.
The new units will continue to provide and improve the level of basic services that we are able to offer our visitors.
The park's Interdisciplinary Team reviewed the project for impacts to natural and cultural resources. The project does not pose any serious or long-term effects to the environmental, historical, cultural, archeological, or visual resources. It meets categorical exclusion #C.8 – Replacement in kind of minor structures and facilities with little or no change in location, capacity, or appearance – for example, comfort stations, pit toilets, fences, kiosks, signs, and campfire circles.
In consultation with the Maryland Historical Trust (State Historic Preservation Officer), as required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the project was reviewed for impacts to cultural resources. NPS archeological staff will work with park staff to ensure that no cultural resources are impacted during installation of the units. With this stipulation, no adverse impacts are anticipated as a result of this project and the project is consistent with the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and the accompanying guidelines.
For further information about this project, please contact Park Engineer, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.