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#191701 - 12/24/09 11:46 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW [Re: nurit]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
One thing we used to do when climbing was take a "poop tube". All it is is a PVC tube, maybe 2" diameter, with threaded ends to screw caps on. To use, you do your "doody" in a bag (we used paper lunch bags, but plastic would do fine-those for pet waste would work well, actually), put a handful of cat litter into it, seal the bag, then put it in the tube. Seal the tube, and viola! Granted, you will have to empty the tube eventually, but it certainly works short term.
my adventures

#191702 - 12/24/09 12:05 PM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: Susan]
williamlatham Offline

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 238
Loc: Stafford, VA, USA
My last house had a similar system. It was gravity fed to the septic tank and then pumped to the leach field. It was due to the terrain on my property. Yes, when the electricity goes out you think about it, although the septic tank is relatively large.

Right now, It is construct an outhouse in the backyard until the mushroom cloud dissipates.


#191707 - 12/24/09 02:39 PM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: williamlatham]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Right now I am at work so I would have to go home first. Boss couldn't stand to pay us for two whole days without working so have to work a partial day today - but he is the boss so what can you do smile . Have multitudes of 5 gal buckets in the garage that would do until could get an outhouse done in the backyard. Improvise a seat with some kind of cushioning or cut a hole in one of the lids. Don't have much on hand in the way of freshening, maybe some baking soda or a shovel of dirt, might get lucky and have some kitty litter on hand. Most likely dig a hole in the yard and empty it as we go, cover it with a garbage bag and leave it in the garage, or dump it into the storage tank. The last one made me think there might be a longer term strategy of just building the outhouse directly over top of the storage tank. Hmmm. Since no flushing = no water I would want to have a good supply of hand sanitizer on hand as well.
Not trying to criticize or hi-jack as these are great scenarios to think about. However I am, admittedly, probably more like the rest of the population than others on this forum (I am working on that). Unless I had advance warning that services would be disrupted for an extended length of time I would probably be like most people and continue to use the toilet for a few days hoping I could eventually flush it. I do have an advantage of water not being an issue when power goes out (at least as long as the storage tanks hold out) so we can still flush when tank #2 is emptied (don't bother flushing in this situation for tank #1 - before anyone asks this is my eight year olds and my current explanation for pee - empty tank #1 - and poo - empty tank #2). If it became obvious this was going to be an extended outage situation then I would go to plan B (buckets and outhouse if necessary). We also are fortunate to have additional water sources VERY close by - a small stream running along one edge of the property that empties into a small river running along the backside of the property, and not nearly as far away as it sounds (less than 100 feet at the farthest point and much closer at others) so drawing water for a flush, while inconvenient, wouldn't be a problem (see comments below for possible problems with septic system though). Not sure I would want to drink any of it. We could filter it and boil it but there could be other chemical nasties that would still be there. Point being in a situation like this drinking water would likely be more of a concern than the ability to flush. Again not trying to hi-jack, just thought I would mention that. Everyone else behave yourself and stick to the original premise of the thread. wink
On the need for electricity, there is another concern other than what has already been mentioned. Ours is a small aerator sytem so electricity is required for the little motor that spins an agitator that aerates the storage tank - I think it also starts breaking down solids and prevents them from sinking to the bottom. Not sure how long we could go without it. I believe the rest of the system is basically one tank fills and overflows into the next, eventually leading to a sand filter that is basically a type of leech bed and any excess goes through a chlorinator and then empties into the river I mentioned earlier.
Oh and live in a house with a yard outside city limits.
Uh ... does anyone have a match?

#191716 - 12/24/09 03:35 PM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: Susan]
Compugeek Offline

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 392
Loc: San Diego, CA
I'm in a condo, deep in Urban San Diego.

Double bagged trash bag in the back bathroom toilet, twist shut between uses. (That bathroom has a window, which would be open, and the door kept closed. smile ) Tie it off and take it down to the dumpster as needed. Or put it on the back balcony until I can get rid of them.

Okey-dokey. What's plan B?

#191719 - 12/24/09 06:17 PM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: Susan]
rbruce Offline

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 153
Loc: California
I see several replies of people saying they would have to improvise a toilet seat. Why? Every home already has at least one. Why not just take off a seat from a toilet in your home and use that?

Back to the topic at hand. I have a 5 gallon bucket and 3 toilet seats (live in a 2.5 bath home so I have 3 toilet seats), trash bags, and kitty litter.

I also have a shovel but I would try to avoid burying waste due to the high water table here, but I would if I had to if the emergency became more long term.

#191724 - 12/24/09 08:10 PM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: Compugeek]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
Live in condo w/ dog and girlfriend (hmm, I wonder why that order).

Lots of open space behind our house - catholes if needed. But also have some 5-gal buckets and a ton of the small 33-gal bags. So I could do the ole camping toilet trick.

Worse case scenario, I live about 1 mile from the bay. I could spend lots of time "checking the props." Along with, likely, half a million others (eeewwwwwww).

I'd worry more about it in a short term situation like the Chunnel event a few days ago.

#191729 - 12/24/09 08:29 PM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: MDinana]
sodak Offline

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 410
Drive from my house to the lake, fill up buckets, bring them back and use them to flush. Or else put garbage bags in the buckets or toilet. Or trench or outhouse, BTDT.

#191737 - 12/25/09 12:06 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW ? [Re: librarian]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Librarian, you're right. I left out an important word: 'discharge'. (I had to ask the neighbor again.) That's where the electricity is used, not from the house to the septic tank.


#191741 - 12/25/09 01:17 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW [Re: Susan]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
For those of us living in urban/suburban areas, I wonder how long this method of waste disposal would be tolerable. I can imagine fights easily breaking out over this kind of thing. Judging by how many people already leave dog poop lying around, I wouldn't be surprised if they started throwing bags of refuse in neighbors lawns at night. Without proper pit toilets, (and no porta potties) how long before disease, flies, and stench makes it intolerable?

#191750 - 12/25/09 02:54 AM Re: Dealing with human waste... starting RIGHT NOW [Re: LED]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I must admit, that I am a bit surprised that no one is planning on composting it safely, which is my plan. Five-gallon buckets with clip-on seats/lids, compost pile. Simple. Safe. In all my years of anticipating ETS-type problems, I still haven't found any method better (short- or long-term) than Joseph Jenkins method as outlined in his Humanure Handbook

You have to be careful with in-ground privies in relation to water supplies. Nitrogen from human waste travels downstream via rain to the nearest water source -- not a good thing. Contaminants (and disease) go along with it.

Leaving it lying around in bags will attract rats, raccoons, dogs, etc, and then the bags will be torn apart and it will be sitting there, exposed to rain, flies, etc.

For the short term, if you could store it in a safe place until you could take it to the dump, I guess that would be okay, but technically, you're not even supposed to dispose of full baby diapers in landfills, the last I heard. Again, it follows the water supply... eventually. It just does.

I think more people need to think about this, and make more substantial plans. Survival isn't all canned foods, flashlights and clever gadgets.


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