Every year people from all over the country come to to float the famous "River of No Return", but when they do return to civilization, they have a bit of a mess to deal with. The only scat machine in the Riggins area is gone.
Floaters on the Salmon River are required to carry out all waste, including human waste, and this year, they're facing new challenges on how to dispose of it. Floaters who have no access to outhouses along the salmon river are required to carry their human waste with them, and the scat machine was where they dumped that waste for processing. But the operators said keeping the scat machine running was difficult and expensive, so they removed it. Now the nearest machine is more than two hours away, in Asotin Washington. With hundreds of floaters getting off the river near Riggins, city managers became concerned some would dump their waste inappropriately..
"It's happened in our dumpsters, with people that aren't aware of how to go though the proper routes, so if the service isn't available, that the city's major concern that there could be roadside dumping or using our trach bins and our dumpsters to do it." said Riggins City Councilman Roy Akins.
The gas station has an rv dump, but that is not a viable option. The Riggins sewage treatment plant, which sends treated water back into the Salmon River, is not able to properly process waste that has not gone through a scat machine.
Forest managers are working on a temporary solution, contracting with a porta-potty operator to process waste four hours a day one mile up-river from Riggins. Akins says outfitters are aware of the limited service, and are encouraged to time their landings during that four hour period. In the meantime, he says the city is working with the forest service on a permanent solution.
"The hell's canyon rec center here in Riggins for the forest service office, that they'll be able to put in a permanent scat machine that'll be available to river users."