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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently, I'm living in a small city in Southern NH, renting a 2-bedroom condo in an apartment complex. Lately, I've been seriously considering the implications of a genuine societal meltdown. Since we're now approaching the dead of winter, my natural inclination is to "bug in", and to just stock up on whatever supplies I think I might need. What I'm wondering, however, is what I should expect with regards to city water & sewer.

My gut tells me that if things were to get really bad, it wouldn't be long before all the water valves get shut off, and before the sewers start backing up. Am I mistaken about these assumptions? What are your thoughts regarding this likelihood? I can make do without heat and electricity for a while (as long as I have shelter and lots of warm clothes, blankets, batteries and vodka, etc). But water & sewer are a pretty essential, and I'm curious as to approximately how long I can expect them to continue flowing. Please advise.

Thanks,
- Yvan
 

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Should the economy fail or the grid fail, either one would be a disaster to the country. If your not getting paid, would you still go to work ? Well, most likely the city employees will not either. That means the pumps that work the water and sewage treatment plants etc would stop working. You get up , flush the toilet, and it backs up over the floor. You try to get water from a faucet to maybe start cleaning up the mess and no water. Now, does that answer any of your questions ?

You could make a temporary solution to both of these problems quite easily. #1, water, you can go to wallyworld, and buy 5 and/or 6 gal water containers, fill and store them. As far as a portable toilet, the best bet would be in the sporting goods section and get a porta-potti. Still will need to be emptied every few days, but much better then having a useless toilet, with all the smell and infectious problems to be had with that.
 

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Just a guess but I'd think the government have got emergency civil aid plans to send in convoys of army trucks carrying water and food for citizens.
And they'd probably send in army engineers to keep the water/sewage/power plants working.
I suppose the army could provide other civil aid too, for example when the firefighters went on strike in Britain a few years ago the govt ordered the army to step in with their 'green goddess' fire engines.

GREEN GODDESS
 

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..you can go to wallyworld, and buy 5 and/or 6 gal water containers, fill and store them..
As a matter of interest, will stored water keep forever, or should we empty it and refill every six months or so?

PS- like Ygagnon says, water is essential, which in my opinion places it top of the 'must have' list. So even if we'd prefer to stay in the city, we might have NO CHOICE but to bug out if water supplies fail bigtime for a long period and our stored supply has run out.
In such a scenario I envisage camping by the side of a river somewhere like this pic where there's all the water I need, sewage can also be slung in there to be carried away by the current. When my food runs out I'll plan my next move depending what the news reports are saying on my battery radio-

 

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Just a guess but I'd think the government have got emergency civil aid plans to send in convoys of army trucks carrying water and food for citizens.
And they'd probably send in army engineers to keep the water/sewage/power plants working.
I suppose the army could provide other civil aid too, for example when the firefighters went on strike in Britain a few years ago the govt ordered the army to step in with their 'green goddess' fire engines.
After the 1989 Quake in SF I did a lot of reading on the FEMA response plans, the bottom line at that time is it was well planned to include bringing in food money portable morgues, ect, the bad news help was up to two weeks away.
 

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After the 1989 Quake in SF I did a lot of reading on the FEMA response plans, the bottom line at that time is it was well planned to include bringing in food money portable morgues, ect, the bad news help was up to two weeks away.
Yeah that's why a good bit of advice for new preppers is to start off by simply prepping for just two weeks with enough food, water, battery-operated torch and radio to take the initial shock out of whatever disaster zaps us, and give us a breathing space to tide us over and plan our next move.
The more stuff we've got, the longer we'll last, but new preppers needn't think they have to run out and buy a generator, nuclear bunker, bugout cabin etc right from the start..:)
 

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If we live near the sea we could use a solar still like this to get drinking water from it by removing the salt-


I live down there in that jumble of buildings (circled) with the Atlantic on my doorstep so it'd be a pity to let all that water go to waste.
A worst case scen would be if the ocean dried up..:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I know this is going to sound terribly pessimistic (and perhaps overly so), but I feel pretty strongly that the government (ie: fema, homeland security, army, etc) would likely buckle just like everyone else in the event of a societal collapse, and that they'd be the least likely bunch to come to anyone's rescue. They're paid workers just like city employees, and if no one is paying them or feeding them, how can we expect them to care about us and our problems? And if whatever scenario unfolds turns out to have been orchestrated/deliberate .. then forget it. All bets are off.

I personally feel that having 30 days worth of emergency supplies is a safer bet. I figure that if things don't start returning to normal at around the 3 1/2 week mark, ... then that would be my queue to pack up the RV, get out of Dodge, and head for the hills.

- Yvan
 

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Along with what ygagnon said.

Have food stocks built up, but remember you may very well be separated from your property. I have a friend that was in NY. He had some pretty good preps set up. Lots of food, lots of water. But he was forced to leave his home and was not allowed to return. So he found himself homeless and starving just like everyone else. Yes he had a bag ready with several days of food water etc etc. But what do you do when that goes dry? His plan a was to bug in, plan b to bug out to his father's house. But with his car gone, and public transit shut down he was stuck.

Have your preps, your plan B, and plan CDEFG. If at all possible have a fall back location with enough preps to last you until you are able to get set up again. You can have a decade's worth of preps in your home. But they do you zero good if you are not able to get home.
 

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Just think of all the heads being emptied directly into the harbor.
Screw the harbor, I plan to set up my solar still out beyond the lock gates along the fresh coastline..:)

..I have a friend that was in NY. He had some pretty good preps set up. Lots of food, lots of water. But he was forced to leave his home and was not allowed to return. So he found himself homeless and starving just like everyone else. Yes he had a bag ready with several days of food water etc etc. But what do you do when that goes dry? His plan a was to bug in, plan b to bug out to his father's house. But with his car gone, and public transit shut down he was stuck..
Who forced him out of his home? Did the cops come knocking on everybody's doors saying "Sandy's coming, we're telling you to get out"?
Personally i never answer the door to anybody..;)
 

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I live in a small town but still yet in the city. Having said that I know good friends at the water plant and I have worked at the Water Plant and the Sewer Plant here in my town during a Summer Youth working program that was open for kids when I was in school, and I know enough about the facilities that if something happened in my town and they shut us off from it I could get it back on :) But in your cause I would store as much as you posibly could and get more details about your city you are in and try to sit and think of ways to overcome objectives like this and think outside of the box.
 

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Who forced him out of his home? Did the cops come knocking on everybody's doors saying "Sandy's coming, we're telling you to get out"?
Pretty much.
 

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I am in no way trying to start an argument and I apologize if this post comes across this way.

A question was asked
As a matter of interest, will stored water keep forever, or should we empty it and refill every six months or so?
I would like to know the answer to this.

But in the same post
In such a scenario I envisage camping by the side of a river somewhere like this pic where there's all the water I need, sewage can also be slung in there to be carried away by the current.
Then the same poster less then 3 hours later said
Screw the harbor, I plan to set up my solar still out beyond the lock gates along the fresh coastline
How do you expect to get the answer to your question when jumping all over the place like this? Are you just responding to posts or do you have a plan?

First:How many like minded people are "slinging" there sewage up stream?
Second: Fresh coastline does not exist. Where do you think all the factories, cities and like minded people dump there waste? How many times have we been told to only eat fish once a week due to the mercury content? In the event of an emergency I expect it to be even worse. The majority of the natural disasters we have experienced recently involve flooding. This flooding causes the sewage treatment plants to over flow, dumping untreated waste into the environment, which by the way is almost always next to a stream

New Orleans with Katrina; Mississippi river flooding effecting Missouri, Illinois etc; N Dakota (Fargo?) when the winter snow melted to fast, two years in a row; and lastly Sandy flooding how many states? These people had to leave or face a life threatening situation leaving most of their prepping behind, if evacuated, leaving all of it behind. In the later case that leaves you with the cloths on your back and your wits. In any situation it's your wits that will keep you alive.

All these situations I mentioned there was plenty of water but it was undrinkable due to sewage plants over flowing there treatment pools, fertilizer/pesticide run off, and in the case of Sandy it left behind an oily film.

When hurricane Isabelle came through I was bugged out to keep the Air Force running in preparation for the worst. Turns out the base was completely underwater during the storm. I returned 2 weeks later. My house however did not have electricity restored for 6 more weeks, water and sewage was not interrupted. The base is apx 10 feet above sea level and it was 2 feet under water during the storm. No treatment plants were compromised, however how many under ground fuel tanks were? Upon my return, the first night, I noticed a car full of teens driving up and down the roads shining flash lights on the houses looking for open windows and such, hmmmm. It was hot and muggy so with no electricity, the windows had to be left open. This was the first time I ever kept a loaded gun near by.

I was lucky, I was in the Air Force at the time and had resources at my disposal through that avenue. I could take a shower at the base gym if needed, recharge flash light batteries while at work etc. Now I'm a civilian and have to do all my own planning with out relying on a resource like that.

My house has a 50 gallon hot water tank. By shutting off the main to the house that will not get contaminated. I do not have the space to store large quantities of water so I'd have to forage. If no flooding was involved I'd make seep holes and use other means to collect water. If flooding was involved, collecting rain water would by my main option.

Sorry for such a long post. Main thing I'm trying to say is use your head. It is what will determine your survival.
 

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Lucky Jim. Dumping your sewage into a stream or river is one of the worst things you can do. The water would become quickly poluted and infect everyone down stream. What makes you think that other people wouldn't be doing the same thing upstream from you ? Bad decision my friend.
 

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..How do you expect to get the answer to your question when jumping all over the place like this? Are you just responding to posts or do you have a plan?
"Jumping all over the place" simply demonstrates my superhumanly-flexible prepper mindset, called the PLAY IT BY EAR strategy.
Like I said, I shall store water in containers at home, and if the mains supply is still off when it runs out, I'll have to fall back on a solar still or might decide to camp near a river..:)
 

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Lucky Jim. Dumping your sewage into a stream or river is one of the worst things you can do. The water would become quickly poluted and infect everyone down stream. What makes you think that other people wouldn't be doing the same thing upstream from you ? Bad decision my friend.
Ha ha I was just trying to be funny and it seems I failed (o god please make me funny, sniffle)
In fact I'll use the SSS (shovel, shit, shovel) drill which involves shovelling a small hole in the woods to krap in, then shovelling earth on top..;)
 

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For drinking water, first you should have bottled water -- relatively affordable, stores easily, and lasts a long time stored. I agree about water containers, I have two 6-gallon containers that are top quality -- a gallon per person per day is recommended. After that, I plan to distill water using a pressure cooker and copper tubing to condense the steam, and capture rainwater off plastic sheeting to buckets to replenish. You can die quickly from the waterborne diseases in publicly accessible water, especially after a disaster when anything can be in the water column.

For sanitary needs, I have a toilet seat lid that snug fits onto a 5-gallon bucket -- I bought it from a boating supply store. Put a plastic bag in, cover waste with cold campfire ashes, and dispose by burial. Liquids -- well, in the short term, just water a (distant) bush.

If power stays out for a while, there will be little to no water or sewerage systems in working order. Eventually you dig a latrine, as far away as possible. If you are stuck for awhile, and winter comes, build an outhouse out on the back forty somewhere -- we are all going to be living just like pioneers again -- whoopee!!
 

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Just a guess but I'd think the government have got emergency civil aid plans to send in convoys of army trucks carrying water and food for citizens.
It depends on the emergency. I for one would rather be prepped and not rely or trust any gov't "support" for anything. This hasn't happened yet, but if martial law is put in place and I see the FEMA trucks coming, I'm buggin' out ASAP. Rather ditch in the woods that be pent up in a concentration camp. Rex 84 anyone?

Now if it just your run of the mill flood, hurricane, or earthquake your talkin', the gov't will eventually get there to help out.
 
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