Officials: Thousands of porta-potties readied for papal visit in Philadelphia

Associated Press

Organizers are assuring the masses descending on Philadelphia for Pope Francis' visit that they shouldn't worry about bathrooms.

More than 3,000 portable toilets and about 350 urinal stalls will be set up for the pope's arrival, which is expected to draw more than 1 million people, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported ( ). Organizers said that amounts to about one for every 250 people.

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Officials said 300 stalls will be handicap-accessible and the toilets will be cleaned three times a day.

"It's a weird topic, but it's one that needs to be talked about," said Bianca Bethel, ESM Productions' site manager for the Parkway papal events. "We don't want to be that city where people leave saying, 'I had no place to go to the restroom.' "

Bethel said ESM looked at papal visits to Brazil and the Philippines, as well as past presidential inaugurations, to determine how many porta-potties would be needed.

A Royal Flush Inc. is providing the toilets and has many units already stocked in a south Philadelphia shipyard. Hundreds more will be assembled on site to relieve crowds on the weekend of Sept. 26-27.

The company has set up temporary bathrooms for the Made in America concert, the Mummers Parade and the annual Broad Street Run.

It's unclear how much they'll cost.

"The big secret is, always go for the center toilets," said A Royal Flush owner Alexandra Townsend. "Everyone always goes to the ends and no one ever goes toward the center — we'll go to check them and they're brand-new."

Francis will visit inmates at a Philadelphia jail, speak on religious freedom and immigration in the shadow of Independence Hall and celebrate Sunday Mass during his visit.


Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer,