Emergency Sanitation

North America’s sanitation systems are at risk. Wastewater treatment infrastructure is vulnerable to sea level rise, disrupted weather patterns, and seismic activity.

What should we do if our toilets don't work?

Use a Twin-Bucket Emergency Toilet.  Keep your pee separate from your poo. Keep each in a bucket with a cover.

Pee is clean if people in your household are well. It poses almost no health risk. With extra buckets and lids, you can store pee until it can be sprinkled on land as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

The poo bucket contains most of the pathogens. Poo needs to be treated, or contained until treated. But the great thing about poo is that it doesnʼt take up much space. Each of us produces only 4-10 oz daily. Cover your deposit with shredded paper, sawdust or coir fiber to dry it our and prepare it for treatment by composting.  It takes a couple of weeks for three people to fill the bucket with poo and carbon material.

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Living in a Seismic Zone

When city dwellers suddenly lose their flushing toilets to an earthquake, they are further distressed and their capacity to survive and recover is deeply compromised.

By understanding how infrastructure will fail and experimenting with alternative, decentralized and waterless systems we can strengthen community resilience before a seismic event and speed recovery after it.

Climate Change

It's a connection we don’t make very often. But the rise in extreme weather events is proving challenging to sanitation systems around the world. While the UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 calls for universal sanitation, 4.5 billion people globally lack safely managed services.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that water availability is becoming less predictable, and increased incidences of extreme weather events such as floods threaten sanitation facilities and risk contaminating water sources.

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Disaster Preparedness

Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days by putting together an emergency kit, including: non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, a portable, battery-operated radio or television, batteries, medicines, anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel, first aid kit, money, seasonal clothing, and sanitation supplies.

Conduct practice drills so you and your family know the safe locations in your home for each type of emergency. Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated. Choose an out-of-state friend or relative that separated family members can call to report their whereabouts and conditions.


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