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Waste disposal in a SHTF situation

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by RightHand, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    This is another thing that needs a plan - one of the unthought of everyday part of living that may become a problem depending on where you live.

    We have both debris and waste to deal with. Most of us have a lot of canned goods stored - that's a lot of trash.

    If you're in a rural area as I am, you can create your own dump (make sure you keep it covered with dirt to avoid drawing rodents) and burning pit. Its what we all did into the 1960's. But what if you are in an urban area in a bug-in situation?

    If you have water, disposing of the waste water. Once again, rural area, not a problem - urban area, may require some creativity. My rural plan includes a a trough outside the back door which runs down at an angle into a collection drum for gray water. Water can then be used to water crops. The trough can be as simple as a length of gutter or made from wood for greater capacity.

    What if you don't have a chemical toilet? The old latrine still works in a rural area - not so applicable in other areas. There is still the option of an outhouse but make sure you have a store of lime to treat it with. Either option assumes the ground isn't frozen an you can dig the hold or trench. Winter is not the time to build either of these.

    Just some thoughts from a pragmatist
  2. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Something to consider RH. I too am rural so is not really something I have given much thought to. We burn trash and have a septic tank that can be utilized even without power or running water.
    I lived in a travel trailer one time for a few months. I couldn't afford a park or to have a septic tank installed. I dug a hole and put a 55 gallon drum in it. Cut slits in the sides all around the top 2/3 of it and ran my sewer line in the top. It worked great.
    but if you were trapped in a city, in an apartment, or somewhere that "Nature" wasn't available I don't know what options you would have.
    I would think that even in a city you could find a nearby vacant lot and build a latrine. Use a 5 gallon bucket for a "Chamber pot" and take it out and empty it often.
    Of course a more pressing need is water. If you have a plentiful source you can still flush your commode by filling the tank manually and only flushing when the bowl is completely full.
  3. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Some trash maybe reuseable as building material. Tin cans could be used as a form of sheetmetal to make some repairs, for example. The rest could be a fire source if it is burnable (ie: paper, cardboard, ect). Food scraps can feed the pets or go towards a compost pile for the garden you would be trying to get going.

    Urine could be desposed of with the gray water if there is enough water to dilute it. Otherwise its going in a "chamber pot" with a lid until you can dump it down the storm drain.(Yes, this is not what the storm drain is for. However, it gets it off your land with, what I consider, minimal risk to others.)

    For fecal matter, I think that a 5 gal. bucket with both a toilet seat and the original lid are the way to go. Get as many plastic shopping bags as you can, some TP, little smell-be-gone spray and you are in business. When you are done, remove the bag, tie into a knot and consider your options. (You can bury it, you can burn it, or you could pitch it over the fence to improve neighborhood relations!:sneaky: ) Clean the bucket like you would wipe down your toilet now and walk away.

    I have considered all of the above for my present situation (urban house with a small yard and close neighbors). These are not long term solutions, but might do in a pinch. If implemented one would need to be sure that the local government, or even your immediate neighbors, are either doing the same or don't care. I veiw it as a way to get by while I figure out what I'm going to do next to solve the bigger problem of staying or going.

    Just my .02
  4. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    There are composting toilets that don't use water.. they do use alittlepower for drying heat and fans....look in alternative energy magazines, they are popular with the solar crowd. Saw an alternative energy tv program highlighting a vegetarian _"eco-commune" called "the dancing rabbits",they used 5gal buckets indoors with a little sawdust dumped outside into compost pits.
    I don't know how long it takes to safely compost "humanure"....be a good thing to look into here's a book called "the humanure handbook" I don't have it perhaps someone here does.

    composting the future of the "crapper":
    composting pdf:
  5. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    I think you could load the squishy plastic bags into the muzzle of a potato gun to launch at the raiding nwo gun grabbers after they disarm everyone..[LMAO][flag]
  6. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

  7. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    thanks...i'll look into it.
  8. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

  9. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    CC, your point is well taken. That said, if the lump in the air mover is big enough that sewer plants are off line, then so are the water treatment plants. In straights as dire as that, the storm sewers are a viable option if the regular sewers back up. It'll take some guessing and judgement calls, but current plants are capable (once back in operation) to prevent the spread of disease from indiscriminate waste in separated sewer systems, and storm sewers will cleanse with storms. The problem, however long or short lived, will be with long term environmental damage. The folks best off will be those that have wells and septic systems.
  10. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Interesting history lesson Colt. Thanks
  11. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    CC: It is a good read you posted, but I still disagree with you about urine and storm drains. Most of what you excreate each day will not make another person sick. It is fairly sterile, especially to you. The storm drains will clean themselves with the next heavy rain, as pointed out by ghrit. There is argument that it should not be done in order to preserve the environment, but I feel that desperate times call for desperate measures. At least until we can figure out a better method.

    All of the problems listed by your article were caused by feces in a storm drain or a bad sewer. Perhaps I did not make my point clear. In no way, shape, or form do I advocate putting feces in a storm drain. It should be buried or burnt, preferably both. It could, as noted, also be used as compost, although I have a hard time feeling safe with that idea and would personally only use it as a last resort.

    If the situation was bad enough, I would consider the water supply compromised. Meaning that I would both filter and chemically treat any water that was going to be used for drinking or food prep. We may choose to disagree concerning urine down a storm drain, but that doesn't mean that the rest of the world is going to read this, much less heed what you say. While my approach may add to the problem, (For the record I don't believe it will) I don't think that by making myself obstain will keep the local water supply any safer. Now if you could keep everyone else from doing it also.......then you would be on to something.

    Tango: I am a Ludite by nature, meaning that I think your method is too high tech. I also am a firm believer in the Gospel according to Mr. Murphy, specifically the section refering to your equipment taking a crap on you at the most inopertune moments. Therefore I propose making a crapapult, much more low tech, from which to launch your "squishy plastic bags".

    Just my take,

  12. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Cities fortunate enough to be in areas with lots of rainfall would be far better off than those in areas with little rainfall. How large a city, amount of population and rainfall needed to dilute is beyond me. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near any city if it's Lightsout, which was the scenario that came my mind.

    The environmental impact from the nitrogen and phosphates to the water quality, soil and wildlife besides the viruses, bacteria and disease that can be transmitted through urine were my reasons for not recommending disposal of urine in the stormdrain. Not knowing whether it was Lightsout or a temporary power outage or whether the stormdrain drained directly to a waterway or when the next rainfall was, I'm going to stick with telling folks not to pee in the water.
  13. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    phishi-I'll be the first one to admit when I'm wrong with a diagnosis. If you are wanting to put your urine down the stormdrain then the sewer is probably backed-up, yes. If you live in an area with frequent rain and the power to the wastewater treatment plant isn't restored soon, the sewer system will soon fill to capacity and breach the manhole covers. So, I guess dumping your sterile urine down the stormdrain is the least of your worries because the possibility of raw sewage entering the stormdrain is immenent.
  14. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    LOL! Never thought of it that way, the manhole covers make for an interesting mental image.
  15. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    LOL! Never thought of it that way, the manhole covers make for an interesting mental image.

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