Geologists are predicting a monster earthquake in our region and people are starting to prepare.
- What are we going to do when the toilets don’t work?
- What’s going to happen to sewer infrastructure?
- Do we have the knowledge and materials we need to build safe, functional household and multi-household toilets?
- Shouldn’t we plan now for more resilient sanitation systems?
Answering these questions was the goal of our Fall 2011 Toilets for Emergencies Campaign leading up to World Toilet Day on November 19. We found very little to help people prepare until we discovered the compost toilet group of New Zealand Permaculture Emergency Response Group. Their simple twin bucket emergency toilet continues to serve residents of Christchurch who remain without sewer service long after the February 2011 earthquake. With their permission, we took their simple innovative approach and urged Portlanders to prepare.
Following the City of Portland’s adoption of the Twin Bucket Emergency Toilet in Fall 2011, our exhibits on household sanitation and workshops on neighborhood level emergency sanitation have proven popular. We continue to partner with government agencies and organizations in the Pacific Northwest to participate in events and to develop and pre-test high quality awareness materials, how-to manuals and videos for both the general public and disaster response specialists.
The release of the Oregon Resilience Plan in February 2013 predicted that a 0.9M CSZ quake would devastate sewers and authorities took notice. PHLUSH is moving into an education and advocacy role as volunteers step in to do outreach. In spring of 2013 we launched the Twin Bucket Brigade, inviting volunteers to borrow simple exhibit kits and – following a brief orientation – take key messages back to their communities.
Groups collaborating with PHLUSH on Emergency Sanitation
We’ve exchanged professional expertise with the following: Multnomah County Office of Emergency Management, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management , MDML Design, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) Sanitation, Hygiene Innovative Technologies (SHIT) Lab, TransitionPDX, Sustainable Sanitation Alliance, SuSanA Working Group on Emergency Sanitation, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency, Washington County Citizen Corps, and Resilience NW
Dozens of local groups are working with us to get the word out on emergency sanitation.
Vecinos Unidos, Neighbors-West Northwest, Old Town Chinatown Neighborhood Association, Northwest District Association, On Solid Ground, Resilience PDX, the Pearl District Neighborhood Association, Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood Development, Richmond Neighborhood Association, Sunnyside Environmental School, Port Townsend’s Local2020, Lake Oswego’s Waluga Neighborhood Association, Clinton Street Theater for World Water Day 2013, Portland Roasting Company for World Water Day 2012 and 2013,