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Company says Ascarate port-a-potties weren't cleaned because county didn't pay for service

Some families celebrating Easter Sunday at Ascarate Park said they were disgusted by the poorly kept bathrooms. The company who owns the portable toilets at Ascarate Park tells CBS4 Problem Solvers that the county did not pay to get them cleaned, and the company has now been flooded with complaints.

"My phone blew up since last night. People, friends, companies, wanting to know what's going on,” said Deering Brunson, the owner of Brunson Pump Service, the rental company that provided the port-a-potties to Ascarate Park. "A lot of times, you see a port-a-potty that's dirty. And the first thing you do is see the logo on the door. Well, there's always a contract in between the company and the customer."

Several families showed CBS4 Problem Solver Ashley Claster the bathrooms at Ascarate Park, and they were filthy. Most restrooms had no toilet paper and no hand sanitizer. El Paso County said it was not responsible for cleaning them, but the port-a-potty company said it wasn't either.

The county said since a lot of the permanent bathrooms at Ascarate are broken, it ordered port-a-potties from Brunson Pump service. The problem is, the port-a-potties weren't cleaned all weekend.

The public works director for the county sent CBS4 Problem Solvers a statement, "The company is responsible for cleaning, but they don't service on Sundays."

"For special events, we are open seven days a week,” Brunson said.

Brunson said there is cleaning service available on Sundays, but the county did not order it. He said the cleaning service is a small extra charge that the county opted out of when placing the rental order. He said if the county had not declined cleaning service, his employees would have been out there cleaning the portables all weekend, including restocking the toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

"They were out there since Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And those eight were asked for no service on the contract,” Brunson said. "It was just a delivery and a pick up. No service, no nothing in between. All they did was ask for four blue, four pink, two ADA's and 10 hand sanitizers."

The county said Ascarate Park usually has six port-a-potties and one handicapped unit on site. The county ordered an additional eight port-a-potties and two handicap units for Easter weekend.

"Honestly, service, I don't think it's expensive. It runs between anywhere from $10-$16 per unit per service,” Brunson said. "A lot of people want to save money. And porta-potties… you don't want to save money on port-a-potties."

CBS4 Problem Solver Ashley Claster looked into how much it would have cost for the county to pay for cleaning service for the port-a-potties. With eight units to clean at $10-$16 each, it would have cost somewhere between $80 to $128 dollars to clean the port-a-potties once over the weekend. To have them cleaned once per day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it would have cost the county between $240 and $384. Each car that drives into Ascarate Park pays a $5 parking fee, which goes to the county.

"It's just bad logistics. I can't say why the county didn't ask for service. I have no idea what happened on their end. We do offer a service to every event, now it's up to them if they pay for it or not,” Brunson said. "We had a different events going on throughout the city. Everybody got service. Hideaway Lakes got serviced, Chamizal got serviced, some private rentals for Album Park for special families, they got serviced. The county… no service."

Aside from cleaning service, Brunson said the county should have ordered at least 54 port-a-potties for the crowd at Ascarate over the three-day time span.

"I know eight port-a-potties ain't enough units for that quantity of people. When that happens, you are going to tend to have overflow, spillage, foul smells. And for a family function like this, it shouldn't be happening,” Brunson said. "This chart lets us calculate how many people will be arriving and for how many hours. According to my chart, I'm pulling out about 54 portables. That's what they should have asked for. Eight was nowhere near the requirement, not even half."

Brunson said with the amount of people at Ascarate this weekend, the eight units the county rented would have been in unusable condition after three hours.

"Just with the amount of units they asked for, and with the people that were there by the hours, those portables were just going to be good enough for three hours. After three hours, they would be in a bad condition. If there was alcohol, it's even less time.”

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