Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sewer emergencies

Usually the big issue in apocalyptic fiction is the power going out.

But some, if only lip service, attention is given to water turning off, and then a tiny bit to the sewer backing up.

People poop a lot, and getting rid of it all safely takes a lot more effort than is generally noted:

From A Sewer Catastrophe Companion (pdf) (hat tip: No Tech Magazine)

The guide is only 24 pages.


James M Dakin said...

My first thought on this was, are people really going to keep using the bucket until it fills to the top?

russell1200 said...

James: Even the 80% fill that they note is going to be pretty heavy. But its as good a benchmark as any I guess. A lot of work for an item that usually only takes up a couple of lines in even the "realistic" prepper stories.

PioneerPreppy said...

Let's face it almost no one who hasn't already given it some thought is going to bother with buckets and composting their household human waste.

The cities that can get away with it will open the valves and let it flow and those areas where it can't be disposed of easily will become..well.. wastelands.

Our current government has focused on sewer regulation and made it much worse than it needs to be. With a little manual labor, a willingness to get dirty and a quarter acre of land any home can take care of it's waste problems almost permanently with just a little bit of yearly maintenance.

The stuff actually breaks down pretty quickly if you handle it correctly and as long as you are not stacking people on top of each other in small spaces.

Which is really the issue here. The government wants to be able to stack people on top of each other.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: I sort of agree with you. But I don't think you can scatter out 330 million people and make everything else work. Cities are more efficient. They just require a lot of inputs. Thus cities grow to the maximum size that their societies level of organization (which would also include available power/technology) will allow. So when the cities fall apart, the loss of efficiency just about guarantees that it won't be a smooth sloop downward.