Sanitation in a Disaster


Unlike our ancestors, we have forgotten how to deal with human waste. We have indoor plumbing, running water, and effective soaps. What happens when there is no water? If the toilet stops flushing, what do you do to keep things sanitary? Exposure to human waste will make your family very sick. Now, before we all start digging outhouses (that is illegal BTW), lets look at how we can adapt what we have to temporarily fill that need. Here are some supplies you should procure (if you don’t have them already) to get you started.
• 5-Gallon Bucket
• Heavy Duty Plastic Bags
• Old Socks
• Racquetballs
• Grease (if possible)
• Medical Gloves
• Face Masks
• Scoop
• Kitty Litter
• Hydrated Lime – Store in a sealed container properly marked.

The first thing is to make a “Dry Toilet”. Pick your favorite toilet, close the water line into the toilet (since the water is off anyway), flush it so the bowl is empty, put the racquet ball in the sock, saturate with grease, and push it into the back of bowl to block the flow of, and to prevent errant sewage from backing up due to low water flow or other issues. Next, put a garbage bag in the toilet, just like you would a trash can, and Presto! A dry toilet! After each use, cover with the kitty litter; this can work for days. Replace the bag when it gets full or too smelly. Now, these bags of feces must be protected to reduce the spread of disease from vermin attracted to the smell, so they can’t just go in the trash can.

The best way to do that is to dig a pit 2.5 to 3 feet deep in an out-of-the way location in the yard and line it with the lime. The lime discourages the vermin from digging into the pit to get to the waste. Empty the dry waste into the pit, drop the bag on top, and cover with kitty litter. Repeat this process until the pit is full. Try to have something heavy on the top, covering the hole until then (e.g., a board and tire or bricks). When it is full, cover with more lime and then cover with soil. You may want to mark the location to avoid messing with this spot for a couple years. Be sure to keep hand sanitizer or something to clean hands nearby and always use the gloves and mask when handling the feces bag. The difficulty comes from the fact that this needs to be DRY toilet. i.e., no urine can go in the toilet. When urine and feces mix, it increases the smell and puts off poisonous gasses that could harm your family. So, the two must be kept separate. What do you do with urine then? That goes in the 5-gallon bucket (you may want to get one of the fancy bucket seats). The urine is non-toxic, and the bucket contents can be discarded in the yard at various locations that won’t kill plants. Congrats! You probably won’t die from cholera, diarrhea, or dysentery, and we can keep ourselves cleanish until the disaster is over.

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