Lower Saucon Township Council voted 3-0 Sept. 4 to authorize the purchase of a $63,000 composting toilet that township manager Jack Cahalan said will save the township money over the long run.
The bathroom facility--which will be made by Modern Concrete--will be installed at Kingston Park, near the on Countryside Lane.
The restroom will be used by many of the school groups that visit the historic one-room schoolhouse throughout the year and at special events, officials said.
Cahalan said the composting toilet will be more cost-efficient than a traditional Port-a-Potty, and noted that plans are to install similar toilets at and .
He contrasted the Modern Concrete model the township will purchase with an .
Although the Modern Concrete model is costlier, Cahalan called it "virtually indestructible" and said it will come with an armor-like "anti-graffiti coating."
These features are important, he told council, in light of recent vandalism to a composting toilet at Roberts Ridge Park in Newtown Township, Bucks County.
Although the vandals were ultimately caught, the unit was virtually destroyed.
Township planner Judy Stern-Goldstein said the community that uses Roberts Ridge Park rallied to replace their composting toilet with a new model that "gets a lot of use."
"They’ve always been advertised as no odor at all, and I’ve found that to be true," she said. "That’s because of the double-vault system that they have."
Cahalan said the unit at Kingston Park will have electricity, as well as hand sanitizers in place of traditional soap and water.
The ADA-compliant unit will be complete with trash receptacles and will have a clapboard-type siding of a color that's still to be determined.
"It will be secure. It will be private," Cahalan said. "We think it’s going to look nice up at the park and serve the residents for many years to come."
In spite of that prediction, one resident spoke out against the purchase following Cahalan's presentation.
Matt McClarin, of Riverside Drive, Steel City, said the amount of money being spent on the high-tech toilet seemed wasteful to him.
been to , and he said the money spent on the restroom could be better allocated.
He also said he doesn't believe that Steel City Park needs a public restroom, since it's located in the middle of a densely populated neighborhood whose residents are its primary users.
"I think…you’re throwing away $67,000 that doesn’t need to be thrown away,” he told council and Cahalan. "Start spending money like (the income from the landfill) is going to stop."
Cahalan countered McClarin's assertions by saying, "In the long run the Port-a-Johns will cost the township more than this unit does."
Additionally, he said public restrooms are needed at the parks because of children's summer programs that take place each year.
Kingston Park remains under development, and Steel City Park is currently scheduled to undergo a major renovation.
Council members Priscilla deLeon and Ron Horiszny were absent from the Sept. 4 meeting.