The Bureau of Land Management has long beseeched river rats to pack out their sewage from trips along the popular 100-mile stretch of the river. Human waste breaks down very slowly in the hot, arid climate. Buried piles threaten to contaminate the groundwater, and non-buried piles create what officials call “toilet paper gardens.”
Many camp sites along the lower Deschutes have outhouses. Although the BLM has no plans to remove the outhouses, maintaining them is expensive, and portable potties will cut down on the load, says the agency’s Robert Towne.
For $1, boaters can empty their toilets after a boat trip at a brand-new $40,000 “scat machine” in Maupin, which takes the waste into the city’s sewer system and washes and sanitizes the bucket.