Be ready now: 3 things you can start doing this week to be ready for whatever comes next: Sanitation

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

This week’s theme: Sanitation

  • Immediate: The best rule of thumb for proper sanitation is to keep waste products away from people. Consider storing non-potable water for the purpose of flushing toilets, and designate a place to dispose of trash and other waste at least 50 yards downwind and down-water from people. Do not dispose of waste near well heads or open water. Make sure you have sanitation supplies, such as toilet paper and trash bags, on hand. Consider purchasing a sanitation kit to allow for safe storage and removal of waste.
  • Intermediate: Consider purchasing a self-composting toilet or self-composting waste system for the number of people involved in your readiness plan. Locate sites for compost piles and trash pits that are at least 50 yards away from water supplies and are downwind from human habitation areas.
  • Long-term: Long-term sanitation involves finding ways to permanently dispose of waste products and will generally involve three components: disposing of human waste, disposing food waste, and disposing of or recycling non-food waste.
    • Human waste can be safely buried at least 50 yards away from potable water sources, and functioning septic systems (that is ones that have access to water) will continue to function if cared for. Otherwise, an outhouse with a leach bed or a self-composting toilet can also be used. At worst, a pit that is periodically buried or burned can be used.
    • Food waste (yes, even meat and bones) can be composted, although compost sites should be located away from water areas. Composting can be accelerated by adding animal feces to the compost, by the regular addition of soil, and by turning the compost periodically.
    • Non-food waste should be handled based on what it might be. In a long-term readiness situation, most waste will need to be recycled for its raw material value.


Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact me about ways you can support this effort.