Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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Potty stranded on sand bar pulled from river

The potty, on its voyage to the shore.

Stowed on the boat, ready to be hauled away and cleaned.

It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing you ever want to see in the Rappahannock River.  But there it was,  a portable toilet sitting on a sandbar near the bridge at Port Royal. Someone called Richard Moncure, Friends of the Rappahannock’s tidal river steward, and  Moncure, who started the job back in January, knew what he had to do.

 Last weekend, Moncure and  friends Chris Ball and Nate Parker from June Parker Marina in Tappahannock, got to work. By then, the soggy Gotta Go john had lodged against a pier and was submerged near a dock. 

 Here’s  part of Moncure’s note to me about the  delicate salvage operation: 

 ”First, we needed to move some branches and trees that had gathered in a heap on the mudflat near the flag (marking its position), and once we were aside the [toilet], the big trick was to get it to float.  We rotated the john so that the door was up and stuffed a 40 gallon barrel inside (for buoyancy)…” 

 The three men  tied it to the back of a boat and dragged it out of the mud. “Using the boat for steering and the current for power, we bobbed along looking for a shoreline that we could  use to beach (it), empty it and load it onto the boat.  After a few hours, and a few failed attempts, we got it on shore! It was in fair shape considering; the sewage had been flushed and a few bream were in side…there were a lot of fish eggs on the door.” 

The company told Moncure  it had no idea how the john got in the river,  and donated it to FOR to use in future outreach  programs. See Frank Delano’s story on Moncure here.


  • OK

    Wow…major newsmaker here! Ok, a porta-jon ended up in the water and someone took it out…hooray! How dare I forget to commend the company for donating it for outreach programs too…great job!

  • BeReal

    This is not the way to stock the river with “brown trout”. :)

  • NotOK

    What, no stories of rape or murder in the headlines? How aweful to hear a feel good/humorous story!

  • K. Herron

    That’s my raft from last year’s July 4th Rappahannock River Raft race.

  • Oksatool

    Ok is a tool!! Great story by the way!