When Nature Calls
Lake Pomme de Terre in Missouri
By Kelli Anderson
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS|
|Shower building and flush-toilet installation|
at Nemo Park, Lake Pomme de Terre in Missouri
In 2004, those eager to retrace the steps of Lewis and Clark's expedition to commemorate its 200th anniversary will no doubt enjoy the benefit of many modern improvements over the original journey—not the least of which are the presence of toilets and showers placed strategically along the way. Thanks to additional funding recently approved by the Missouri senate, Missouri state parks and lakes will be able to improve—among other things—older toilet and showering facilities in anticipation of increased park activities.
Lake Pomme de Terre in Missouri, one of the beneficiaries of increased funding, used its modest financial haul, in part, to replace its 30- and 40-year-old toilet and showering facilities with better designed units. The park is operated by the Kansas City district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps is currently the largest provider of recreation in the nation) and offers campgrounds, boating, picnic grounds and national-fishing-competition-caliber waters, requiring a variety of facility needs.
"We had a lot of different toilet facilities in our district," says Susanna Gehrt, a civil engineer with the Corps. "Each lake crew used to choose their own designs. Most were made of wood and weren't that durable. During seasons when flooding becomes a problem, they would literally float away. We had to repaint them all the time, and after a while, they just looked bad no matter what we did. We were looking for something durable and maintenance free."
Precast concrete designs from a variety of companies provided the solution.
Of the 18 lakes in the Kansas City Corps district, ranging mostly over Kansas and Missouri but also including a site in Nebraska and Iowa, six of its lakes are now using precast concrete structures designed, manufactured and installed by CXT, Inc., a 9-year-old division of a company based in Spokane, Wash.
"What attracted us to CXT, Inc. was probably, all in all, the durability," Gehrt says. "They are solid concrete. We looked at all the options, and this was maintenance free and easy to install. Only the interiors have to be occasionally painted, but the exterior is sold color and needs no maintenance. We also liked them because they have a large variety of products."
Three different units—a shower unit, flush and vault toilets—were selected for the recreation site's varying needs and were installed this past September. All the units are unisex and handicap accessible with the additional bonus of being virtually vandal-proof with design features that reduce the amount of tampering that can be done with exposed equipment. Such features include motion censors to activate lighting and exhaust fans, utilities contained in the pipe chase, hand dryers encased in the walls, and tough polycarbonate windows.
"We were concerned with the windows, at first, that they wouldn't let enough light in, but they do, and it really looks nice," Gehrt says. "There's a clean look to the rooms, too, with nothing hanging down. Even the dryers are very small and sturdy with their mechanisms embedded in the walls. They're small, but they really put out the air."
The shower facility features four private shower units, each containing a shower, sink, toilet and bench. The design is both family friendly and characteristically durable. Each compartment is roomy enough for a parent to assist a child and has solid concrete walls and floors with nonskid paint, vandal-proof shower hardware and phenolic (anti-rust) benches, all user friendly and long lasting.
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF|
US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
Another pleasant surprise was the installation. The largest units took only three days to install during which CXT, Inc. prepared the foundation, provided its own crane for installation and took care of the cleanup afterward. Smaller units, such as the vault toilets, took only one day. Gehrt was quick to add that the installation crew was particularly good and easy to work with. From ordering to installation, the process took between 60 to 90 days, with prices ranging from $87,481 for the four-unit showers to $14,984 for a vault toilet, which includes building, delivery, the crane and installation.
One possible modification that CXT, Inc. is currently investigating is whether the electrical panel on the Cortez flush toilet model can be moved from the more visible front exterior to the side.
"We would like to have the panel less visible, but code requirements are such that it needs to be there," Gehrt says. "CXT is looking into it to see what they can do, if anything. They try to work with as much as code and design for vandal-proofing will allow."
Although only in place for a few months and at the end of the park's summer season, users of the new facilities have still passed along their favorable comments. CXT, Inc.'s products are now also being used in other Corps districts like Seattle and Portland, Ore.
"We'll definitely order more this year," Gehrt says. "We've only had them a few months, but from their looks and ease of installation, we will be happy."
For more information
CXT, Inc.: 800-663-5789