*Sewage Handling*
By Serger

I figured I'd start mucking through the articles for ones which weren't "cool". Well, this was the first on my Special High Intensive Training list, if you can handle the acronym. :)

In normal times you just flush and the problem takes care of itself. Since you’re reading this, I must assume the times may not be normal and you have to take care of the problem yourself. We’ll talk about household sewage or domestic sewage, not storm drains or industrial waste which is also sewage.

Domestic sewage is composed of about 99% water and 1% solids. This translates to about 1 cup of solid matter you really need to deal with per 5 gallon flush. If your retreat/homestead is structured properly, the gray water from the bathing/laundry/ food preparation area will be diverted and not a problem. What you do is to have the plumbing for the gray water lines diverted into a separate header which goes into a storage tank that you can then use as plant/ grass water. Be advised, should you use the gray water for watering food crops for yourself or the livestock you may have, any biological pathogens which are in that water could be transferred to you or your stock. Many times the gray water has enough soaps and disinfectants in it that storing it in a surge volume prior to dispersing it will render most of the pathogens harmless. Also, exposing it to sunlight and aeration accelerates the breakdown of the bacteria. Black water which comes from the toilets should be considered and handled as a biohazard. In interesting times the expedient way of dealing with it is to bury it. AKA the out house. Or you could follow the time honored tradition of burning it. Burning fecal matter is unpleasant to say the least. The other option  is bagging it and storing it until such time as you can deal with it. There are camping enzymes which you can put into the porta potty which break down the waste into “stuff” which is not quite waste.

In interesting times you must handle all sewage spills as a biological attack and treat them as you would any virulent disease carrier. That means having cleaning agents as well as protective clothing and spill containment and  removal equipment on hand. People who have had to clean up from a flood or violent storm (hurricane or tornado) know just which type of gear . Rubber gloves, goggles, face masks, scrub buckets and brushes for equipment. Bleach, strong soap, pine tar cleaners for disinfectants. These are the minimum. In interesting times with this type of pathogen carrying media, getting a scratch could be a death warrant.

So as a minimum figure on having:


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