Disease is spread when human waste is not disposed of correctly
Have you ever thought about where you’ll “go” when there is nowhere to "go"? After a major earthquake, we may need to live without running water and working toilets for weeks or months. Having a plan of where to go pee and poo can prevent potentially deadly diseases.
The Twin bucket system
In densely populated or urban areas, using the twin bucket system for pee and poo can solve the problem because it reduces the risk of disease (like cholera) and keeps pee separate from poo, reducing the amount of waste and odor.
Fecal waste (poo) bucket
- Line bucket with heavy-duty 13-gallon garbage bag.
- Use POO bucket.
- Cover each use with shredded paper, bark chips or similar carbon-based material to help dry the waste and control the odor.
- Fill bucket no more than half full of waste.
- Double-bag and store the waste separate from other garbage and away from food and water.
- Secure waste from pets, flies and rats.
Liquid waste (pee) bucket
- Place toilet paper in POO bucket.
- Add non-drinking water to contents if possible.
- Pour on lawn, garden or ground.
Three Steps to Stay Healthy
- Have clean drinking water available.
- Always clean your hands after toileting and before eating.
- Store POO safely, using double-bagged garbage bags and keeping away from food and water.
Digging a latrine
If you live in a rural area, a latrine (or pit toilet) may be an emergency toilet. Learn how to dig a latrine, check out Rack Card #1 at www.EmergencyToilet.org.
Do you have a septic system? Check out Rack Card #2 at www.EmergencyToilet.org to determine if it is still working after an earthquake.
If you need assistance locating your septic system before a disaster, contact Washington County Environmental Health.
- Why are these methods recommended?
- It can prevent outbreaks of disease, like cholera.
- This process was used very effectively in Christchurch, New Zealand for several years after a major earthquake in 2011.
- It could be months or years before our sewage systems are restored.
- What do I do with the poo bags?
- Find a secure location to store the double-bagged poo, away from food, kids and animals.
- Listen for more information from your local waste disposal haulers.
For more information on Disaster Sanitation visit www.emergencytoilet.org.
For all methods
- Toilet paper or wipes
- Disposable plastic gloves
- Plastic garbage bags (for disposing of gloves)
- Soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60%+ concentration)
For the twin bucket system
- Two 5-gallon buckets
- A toilet seat (optional but comfortable)
- Dry, carbon-based materials like straw, leaves, grass, shredded paper, sawdust, etc.
- Heavy-duty plastic garbage bags
For a latrine
- Emergency Toilet Guidebook
- Septic & Onsite Wastewater Systems
- Personal Hygiene and Handwashing After a Disaster or Emergency
Preventing Diarrheal Illness After a Disaster: