This worker was cleaning hundreds of toilets a day at Burning Man

Burning Man relaunched last week for the first time since 2019, and it lived up to its reputation of being the most unique and experimental event it can possibly be witnessed in the middle of the Nevada desert. But the festival takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes to run smoothly, much of which isn’t for the faint-hearted. That’s where people like Zach come in.

Zach, who asked to use only his first name for fear of reprisal from his employer, traveled to the Black Rock desert from his home in Texas to spend each day of the festival cleaning Burning Man’s hundreds of portable toilets. . He worked as a field development specialist for two years doing this type of work, but this was his first time tackling the playa.

Zach gained some recognition online for the work he did at the event after posting on Redditinviting forum members to “ask him anything”.

“We had a very good team in the trenches. Everyone was there to work and ready to help each other. I can’t speak to previous burns, but I can speak to other events I’ve been to, and this was by far the best team I’ve been on,” Zach commented in the thread.

He said work for him and his team was from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, with several breaks in between. Cleaning the toilets involved vacuuming rubbish and waste and disinfecting the units with degreaser, descaling solution and blue chemical tablets before hosing them all down.

“You look at each team cleaning probably between 200 and 300 toilets a day,” Zach told SFGATE.

The toilets weren’t the only thing Zach had to clean during the event – at one point he had to hose down a woman who had fallen into the holding tank of a portable toilet.

“She was wearing knee high boots with 5 inch heels and squatting over the bowl instead of sitting on it. I guess she lost her balance and just put her foot right in the bowl, and it was filled all the way to the top,” Zach said.

Zach braves a dust storm at Burning Man.

Zach braves a dust storm at Burning Man.

Image courtesy of Reddit user FreelancevagrantARS.

At one point, doctors informed Zach that he had potentially saved a man’s life after finding him unconscious in a portable toilet.

“I was knocking on the door and didn’t hear an answer, so I kept knocking on it and still didn’t hear anything. I backed the door a little, just to see if there was anyone in there, and there was someone there. Pretty much every minute I was looking at that door just to see if they were out of it yet,” he said.

When Zach’s team finished clearing the area and whoever was inside still hadn’t come out, he ripped the portable toilet door off its hinges and found someone passed out inside. interior without clothes. He immediately woke the man up and started giving him water while he waited for medics to arrive.

“I had to keep the door open, so I’m trying to keep people from seeing this half-living naked guy in the bathroom,” Zach said. “I keep him awake, I just try to talk to him, then the doctors finally come. They’re all like, ‘I’m really glad you found it. It would have been really bad if you hadn’t.

Despite these incidents, Zach said working on Burning Man was generally a positive experience, and his work hasn’t been ignored — several people on Reddit mentioned noticing that the restrooms at the event were particularly well-maintained this year.

“I was pointing out to my friends that I was really impressed with the cleanliness of the ports this year,” said one commentator. “They didn’t even smell that bad.”

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