(ModernSurvival.org) – Raw sewage, including water contaminated by raw sewage, is a breeding ground for a variety of nasty diseases. Normally, human waste isn’t much of a concern once it’s flushed. However, that isn’t the case right now in Panama City, Florida.
Thanks to a power outage and heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Fred, hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage are flooding into waterways in Bay County. Over 120,000 gallons escaped from a single lift station in Panama City, which then made its way into the Massalina Bayou.
Health officials are warning residents to avoid affected regions, as the contamination poses a serious health risk.
It’s pretty obvious that raw sewage can be harmful to one’s health since it can lead to a surprising number of diseases. With that in mind, what would happen if the sewer system suddenly stopped working? What can a person do when they inevitably have to go?
Disposing of Human Waste in a Catastrophe
In modern times, many luxuries have become so ingrained in society that most people take them for granted. For instance, consider what would happen in the aftermath of a catastrophe when human waste can no longer be flushed away.
In urban and suburban areas, especially those with high population density, disruption of public services (specifically, sewage) would become a major problem in a matter of days. Not only would the stench of accumulating human waste become overwhelming, but the risk of illness would skyrocket. Should the toilet stop working, how could the average person dispose of their waste?
To answer this question, City Prepping has provided the following video:
For those who live in the country or are on a septic system, waste disposal won’t be as much of a problem. Septic systems do not rely on public services to operate, and even if those go down, burying or burning waste is an option (although a worst-case one). However, for everyone else, getting rid of excrement could become a big issue.
If flushing the toilet is off-limits due to backed-up sewage lines, there are some options for dealing with waste. First, be sure to shut off the water to the toilets in the home, an accidental flush could lead to serious sanitation issues should the back-up come flowing out of the toilet. Once the water is shut off, here are some options for taking care of waste:
Use the Toilet
Even if you can’t flush the toilet, you can still make use of it. Empty the water from the tank and the bowl, then double-layer trash bags inside. When the bags fill, seal them and place them in a designated area until sanitation services begin operating again.
Build a Disaster Toilet
If emptying the water from the toilet isn’t an appealing task (or the toilet has overflowed already), then creating a disaster toilet may be a better option. This will require a five-gallon bucket, a pool noodle and several trash bags. Cut the noodle lengthwise so it can fit over the edge of the bucket, providing a somewhat comfortable place to sit. Place the trash bags inside the bucket with the edges overlapping the bucket’s top, then use the pool noodle to hold them in place.
After each use, a layer of sawdust, dirt or even cat litter can be added to reduce smells and prevent insects from being attracted to the contents. When the bucket isn’t in use, the lid can be put on to reduce odors, as well.
When the bags get full or unbearable, tie them off and move them to an appropriate location such as a dumpster. Do not place them near flowing water, or any place where people will be interacting. Human waste contamination can lead to many health problems and should be avoided at all costs.
Disposing of human waste won’t be the only issue following a disaster. Getting rid of everyday garbage will be a problem as well. To see some options on how to handle trash in a grid-down situation, check out our article here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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