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#191671 - 12/24/09 02:14 AM Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ?
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I know that a lot of the scenarios we talk about are just 'what ifs', and many scenarios have varied possibilities. But one we really can't avoid is dealing with human waste.

I don't know if I've got this right, but a neighbor was saying that many modern septic (and sewer?) systems have some kind of electrical pump that moves the waste to the septic tank. So, does that mean that if you don't have power, the toilets back up? Does anyone know about this?

But there are other reasons that our toilets wouldn't work: no power = frozen plumbing, not enough drinking water to use for flushing, etc.

What would you do if suddenly you couldn't use your toilets? I mean starting RIGHT NOW. All the stores are closed, and will stay closed for the next two or three weeks. All the hotels/motels are loaded to capacity with stranded travelers. All your local friends are in the same situation. Travel out of the area is impossible.

What's your plan? And tell us also what kind of living quarters you have: apartment, condo, house/lot, living in your motorhome or travel trailer, etc.

And no cheating! laugh All you have to work with is what you have as of this very minute.


#191673 - 12/24/09 02:20 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: Susan]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4776
Originally Posted By: Susan
...a neighbor was saying that many modern septic (and sewer?) systems have some kind of electrical pump that moves the waste to the septic tank. . . .
Hmm, not familiar with any septic tanks needing anything besides gravity. Maybe his system needs to move the waste uphill.

#191674 - 12/24/09 02:26 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW [Re: Susan]
UrbanKathy Offline

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 43
Loc: Queens, NYC
I have one of those foldable camping toilets--the kind where you attach the plastic bags. Got them when my plumbing went out some years ago (I live in an apartment buiding). Also Clorox and a lot of bottled water and selzer. Also have Kirkland 33 gal black bags and 13 gal white bags. Water would be the problem both for "cutting" the waste, and hygiene/drinking. Everytime I load up on large water bottles (Poland Spring 2 gal, etc), they spring a leak. I've been meaning to get a solid water container--seen some at this site. It's just hard living in an apartment.

I'm not sure how I would get rid of it. Can't dump down the sewers. If the toilet starts working again I'd flush it down, but how long would I have to wait to do that?

Edited by UrbanKathy (12/24/09 02:27 AM)

Urban camping = one roll of toilet paper in your hotel room

#191677 - 12/24/09 02:36 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: Susan]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6367
Loc: southern Cal
Me archaeologist. Gottem shovel. Me dig hole. Heap plenty deep, heap plenty straight sides. Wide enough to straddle and long enough. Think of the tomatoes I can grow in a few years!

About thirty rolls of TP in storage. Improvise a seat pretty quick (my ladies will insist on that) and erect privacy screens with blue tarps. Scrounge around for some neutralizing chemicals - I would prefer lime, but might have to do w/ammonia and soil.

I've got my own house with a fenced, private back yard, so I have an easy situation.

I think your neighbor is mistaken. I believe it still rolls downhill.....at least where I live, the sewer system is on a pretty steep grade and everything goes bye-bye nicely (almost always).
Geezer in Chief

#191678 - 12/24/09 02:58 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW [Re: Susan]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
I've got a 5 gal bucket (w/foam pipe insulation for the rim), trash bags, and cat litter. Or put trashbags right inside the toilet. For outside you could always dig a cathole and cut the bottom out of the bucket. Individual daily bags are placed in a large contractor grade bag and into the trash bin. That wouldn't work for too long though cause if everyone did it would pile up fast and not everyone would be as careful. Basically after a few days it would be a sanitaiton nightmare.

Or, take hikermor's example, and find a friend with a private backyard. wink

Edited by LED (12/24/09 03:01 AM)

#191683 - 12/24/09 03:32 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: Susan]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3560
Loc: Spring, Texas
Wife and daughters use our camping toilet. I get a shovel and the backyard of our house.

Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#191685 - 12/24/09 03:44 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: Blast]
fasteer Offline

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 63
Loc: away
kitchen garbage bags in the toilet - that's a great idea.
Then we can just toss 'em in the backyard - be frozen solid in a minute...
Summertime presents another problem tho.

#191694 - 12/24/09 06:29 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: fasteer]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2667
Loc: Alberta, Canada
No problem.

My plumbing and septic tank use a gravity feed, so as long as I have water I can flush the toilet. The tank would handle minimal use for many days.

But I don't really need it. I have an outhouse out by the woodpile.

#191697 - 12/24/09 09:25 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: dougwalkabout]
librarian Offline

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 34
Loc: Conroe, Texas
With some septic systems electricity is needed to move along the treated water and spray like a sprinkler to empty the last of three tanks. The solids must get pumped out when needed, depending on amount of use. Last year when Hurricane Ike hit us we stopped using the toilets because the elec. was out for days and couldn't empty the cleaned water. Toilet will flush just fine and gravity works to empty into the septic system; the problem is it can't pump the water out and would eventually fill up. So we just played camp out. We live in the woods so DH had a great time marking his territory!

#191699 - 12/24/09 11:31 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW [Re: Susan]
nurit Offline

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 191
Loc: NYC
I live in an apartment.
I've stored a 5-gallon bucket with gamma seal lid, Travel John toilet seat that fits onto the lid, and a month's supply of plastic bags, packets of bio-waste-digesting stuff, and toilet paper.
I also have a luggable loo and some extra supplies in case the people who work in the store downstairs are stranded.

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