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Monday, January 17, 2011

Sanitation....yes the stinky issue.

I thought I would start the new year off with something usually overlooked....sanitiation during times of disaster. Many stock up on loads of TP and then really don't think about the issue after that. So what to do when the water stops running and the TP runs out? This is a subject many don't like to breach, but it a daily issue that must be addressed.

Sanitation after a disaster is a huge issue. The potential for disease outbreak is massive...the present situation in Haiti is a great example.
Bugging In:
People on sewer systems, especially low lying coastal areas face a serious issue. Though toilets can be flushed by pouring water into the tanks, when flushed it goes no further than your area lift station holding tank. With the power off these lift stations stop working and the holding tanks fill up. Either the waste will begin to flood the streets or it will back up into your house. Neither is a good option. Those on septic systems can continue to flush...though this is a huge waste of water.

If it is a short term disaster solutions are easy...probably the simplest is the 5 gal toilet. Available for purchase from several suppliers or you can make your own. This is also a good option for those bugging out via BOV.

A longer term solution is a 55 gal drum that can be constructed into a composting toilet if you are feeling really adventurous. Additionally a small septic system can easily be constructed.

A great book for waste composting...-The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, Third Edition - Joseph C. Jenkins .

Bugging out:
Ok so you have to bug out. If going BOV, most think heck I'll just pull over and go (which is exactly what the masses will do). This again sets up the potential for disease spread as well as water contamination. With the BOV you can carry a 5 gal bucket...but I suggest you have one with the bottom cut out...dig a hole and loo. But is is good to be responsible..a great book that addresses going in the wild and applies to any mode of bugging out.

-How to Shit in the Woods, Second Edition: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art - Kathleen Meyer

Holy Smokes I'm out of TP?! what?
Fortunately, someone has already done a study. Though a bit on the 'bold' side, they try several different substitutes...I'll let you read and decide for yourself.

Have a great new year everyone!

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