Portable Restrooms, Handwashing Facilities, Maintenance, and Drinking Water Supplies for Special Events in the City of Austin


This document outlines best management practices for setting up portable restrooms, handwashing facilities, maintenance, and drinking water supplies at special events, including marathons, sporting events, music events, and those typically held in parks. Implementing these practices will ensure the health and safety of participants, attendees, and staff while minimizing environmental impact.


The requirements for mass gatherings must be used to ensure a safe and healthy event at all Tier 3 and 4 events, as well as all Tier 2 events that last four or more hours and include alcohol, food, or beverages.


The Health Authority may grant a variance to these requirements if the Health Authority determines that a health hazard will not result from the variance. When a special event organizer proposes to use a sanitation and water supply distribution infrastructure layout that was previously approved by city staff, the event organizer is not required to obtain a variance if the proposal matches the previously approved infrastructure layout, the proposed attendance at one time, and the flow is consistent with or less than the number of attendees at one time and flow of prior events, and a health hazard will not result from its use.

Portable Restrooms

  1. Determine the appropriate number of portable restrooms based on the expected attendance at one time using the guideline of one toilet per 50 persons.
  2. Place portable restrooms strategically throughout the event area to ensure easy accessibility and minimize queuing.
  3. Regularly inspect and clean portable restrooms during the event to maintain hygiene standards.
  4. Consider offering gender-neutral and ADA-compliant portable restrooms (recommend at least 5-10% of toilets be ADA complaint) to accommodate diverse event attendees.

Handwashing Facilities

  1. Install handwashing stations near portable restrooms and food areas to promote proper hygiene.
  2. Ensure that a continuous supply of water, soap, and paper towels are available at handwashing stations throughout the event.
  3. Ensure waste generated from handwashing stations is disposed of in a sanitary manner.
  4. Provide hand sanitizer stations at key locations near handwashing facilities.


  1. Employ a dedicated maintenance team to promptly address issues related to portable restrooms, handwashing facilities, and water supplies during the event.
  2. Regularly inspect the event grounds to identify potential hazards and address them promptly.
  3. Implement waste management practices, including litter collection and recycling stations, to keep the event area clean and environmentally friendly.

Drinking Water Supplies and Spigots

  1. Arrange for an adequate supply of potable drinking water at a rate of one pint per person per hour calculated at peak attendance.
  2. Install water spigots or hydration stations at convenient locations to encourage regular hydration.
  3. Clearly mark the locations of water stations to make them easily identifiable.

Marathons and Sporting Events

  1. For endurance events like marathons, plan additional portable restrooms and water stations along the route to meet participants' needs.
  2. Provide cooling stations and shade areas to prevent heat-related illnesses during sporting events.

Music Events

  1. For music events, promote waste reduction by using reusable cups or containers for beverages.
  2. Offer hydration stations with free water to encourage attendees to stay hydrated and reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles.

Park Events

  1. Coordinate with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD)to ensure compliance with park regulations and environmental guidelines.
  2. Utilize existing facilities like public restrooms in parks to supplement portable restrooms.

Other Considerations

See Austin Water’s “Water Services” section of this event guide for more information about applying for the use of Austin Water’s services before using water or wastewater services. All connections and liquid waste hauling must meet City of Austin codes.


By following these best management practices, event organizers can create a safer, more hygienic, and environmentally responsible atmosphere for special events. Regularly review the ACE Event Planning Overview Guide webpage for updates to this document based on feedback and changing regulations to continuously improve event management.