February 19, 2018

Survival Sanitation

Survival sanitation is a subject that doesn’t get much attention. It’s not surprising. This isn’t a subject for polite conversation and, it’s gross. But, not knowing what to do with waste in a grid down situation can lead to a dire survival situation. This is fair warning; this information is important, but will cover some information that is a bit disgusting.

In researching this article, I found a series of three articles at Tactical Intelligence, that cover almost everything I wanted to write on. So instead of writing a similar article, I am going to ask you to take a look at his articles and I will just add my $.02 here.
Survival Sanitation: It all Begins with the Hands

This article covers how many diseases are spread from bodily fluids to hands then to the mouth. He even gives instructions to make your own chlorine bleach, as well as good and bad hand hygiene habits.
Survival Sanitation: Disposing of Garbage Off-Grid
Out of the three, this is the one area I think people should hold out on. Only go this route if garbage pickup is on hold for a long time. That is, unless you live in a densely populated area such as New York. Due to the day after Christmas blizzard in 2010, New Yorkers went without trash collection for a week and limited collection for another. There were mountains of it and soon the rats came out. This is good information to be aware of.
Survival Sanitation: How to Deal with Human Waste

This is a topic that while mildly unpleasant, is very important. If you are on city sewer and water, in a grid down situation there won’t be power to the water pumps to provide water for disposing of the waste. This article explains what to do if you have water available and what to do if you do not.
Backflow Valves

I only have one other thing to touch on and that is the back-flow valve. A back-flow valve will keep sewage from flowing back into your plumbing. Backwater-Valves.com hosts the image below. They explain the need, based on your location, hypothetically; on a hill in a flooding situation.

I also contacted a local plumber via e-mail asking if the power going out would have any impact on sewage back flowing.

“Hi Chris,
The back water valve is only required if the plumbing fixtures are below the manhole in the street. ( most are but some houses are on hills ). The power going out has no effect unless you have a lift station in your home.

You can tell if you have one because they are required by code to be accessible. ( somewhere in floor ).

They are not a huge project but we would need to locate the drain, remove the concrete, install back water valve and patch the floor. There are any variables that would raise the costs but a minimum price would be $450.”

Where I live, back-flow valve installation became code in 2009. It might be code where you live. If you have an older home and think you might be in danger of back-flow, contacting a plumber in your area now might be a prudent idea.
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