In times of flooding and tornado damage, water flush toilets and sewage systems may be damaged, destroyed or temporarily interrupted. Accumulation of human waste and garbage can cause serious problems with insects and rodents. The following procedures will allow you to control waste material and prevent problems.

Temporary Waste Handling

  • Follow instructions from local authorities and if possible, learn the location of the nearest disposal facility.
  • Use a metal or heavy-plastic garbage can that is lined with a heavy-duty plastic bag. A toilet seat can be made with a seat from an old chair by cutting a hole in it or use a commercial toilet seat. A portable camping toilet can also be used. If using a bucket, remember to empty it after each use into a larger, garbage bag lined garbage can with lid.
  • The plastic garbage bags lining the garbage can may be removed, tied or secured and stored until collection.
  • The garbage can should be fitted with a tight fitting lid when not in use.
  • Once it is safe to go outside or floodwaters recede, human wastes can be buried under 12-24 inches of dirt. Pits can be dug for privies. These pits should be 4-5 feet deep and should NOT be dug within 50 feet of a well, spring, or other water supply.
  • Using lime, household bleach or other deodorizing substance in emergency toilets will help control odor and insects.

Garbage Handling

  • Strain away liquids.
  • After straining, wrap garbage in several layers of newspapers.  Store in a large garbage can with a tight fitting lid.


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