SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- A Sacramento man is spearheading an effort to put privately financed porta-potties along the American River.
He calls it "Operation Brown Trout." But it’s not just a humorous name, it’s meant to draw attention to a serious sanitation issue that is not just a homeless problem.
Tests have shown the presence of e. Coli bacteria at seven times the levels that are deemed safe.
Evan Edgar is an engineer and consultant who paddles on the river and is familiar with its shoreline.
“It’s immoral not to have a bathroom down here for the homeless,” Edgar told FOX40.
Edgar took it upon himself to rent a porta-potty last spring along Garden Highway when the homeless camps were flooded. He playfully named the effort "Brown Trout."
But red tape got the best of him.
“After three weeks, I was yanked,” Edgar said. “That was city property because didn’t have a city permit.”
He was directed to county parkway land at the base of Northgate Boulevard and 16th Street where a planned restroom was never built.
After eight months of dead ends with parkway officials, he was allowed to file for a three-month permit.
It’s a movement he said is long overdue.
“People thought it might not be aesthetically impleasing. Well, I think brown trouts on the trail,” Edgar said. "The city or somebody should have had an outhouse."
Edgar is not alone in the endeavor. He’s got three business and individual sponsors.
“I seen joggers pull their pants and go to the bathroom right here in the parkway,” homeless advocate Dan Aderholt said.
Aderholt said joggers and bicyclists have plenty of bathroom emergencies too. He’s been clamoring for porta-potties along the parkway for five years.
“The guy who’s fighting for it now, you got my full support. I'll let you know right now, we back him 100%,” Aderholt said.
Portable toilet experiments have proved costly in the past. They require monitors to make sure there’s no vandalism or illicit activity in them.
But Edgar insists porta-potties are a low-cost option.
“It doesn’t attract prostitution. It doesn’t attract drugs," he said. "You know what it attracts? Brown trouts. So lets put brown trout inside the toilet and not in the river.”
The permit will take a few weeks to process and Edgar hopes the first of several portable toilets will be placed toward the end of the year.