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Thread: An Emergency Water Epiphany

  1. #61
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    fieldops, I met Mrs Umbra in technical theatre and we used some things learned there to make it look like we were gone:
    outstanding job! glad it payed off for you.

    I have a private well here on Cape Cod. I can get water as long as it's powered. I have 2 Honda quiet generators and a generac 12kw. i had an engineering friend design a series of sound dampening panels to put around the big one. Most of the sound is directed upwards. I keep several 5 gallon units and a 55 gallon drum for water. Just in case, I have 2 or 3 of the Katadyn filters as I have a fresh water pond nearby......gotta watch out for that Crypto.....
    The only light I need now is the "light at the end of the tunnel".....

  2. #62

    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Sub, you've given us all some very valuable information with respect to water prep, as well as the nitty gritty on sanitation and garbage control. I've found your input to be thought provoking and useful.

    I'm now curious as to how you handled some other aspects of your life during that time.

    For example, how did you cook? Were your appliances gas or electric, and did they remain functional? Camp stoves? If so, fueled by what, and did you cook inside or outside? How'd you handle ventilation if inside?

    Did you lose power? Use a generator? If so, how'd you handle noise?

    Thanks.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by benh View Post
    ...I'm now curious as to how you handled some other aspects of your life during that time.

    For example, how did you cook? Were your appliances gas or electric, and did they remain functional? Camp stoves?
    Thoughtfull questions. Our power was out one day short of six weeks. Landline down for seven and a half. We had gas until it was shut off four or five days after the storm. There were real problems with the gas lines but the city also wanted to prevent people from boiling water. City water was also shut off to make it harder for the unprepared to stay. Much of our food was chosen because it wouldn't need cooking. Unless you live in the arctic you won't need as high a caloric intake to get by in an emergency.

    We try to stock food that meets a few conditions. For the most part:
    • It shouldn't all have to be cooked before eaten.
    • Much of it should have a high water content.
    • Much of it should require no washing dishes afterwards.
    • Much of it should be things you really like -- things that will improve your spirits -- things that do not just add more drudgery to the situation you're in.
    For us it works well to stock a couple cases of various canned fruits. Half of it is always in the bottom of the fridge because it's so good cold. The other half goes in when a storm is coming as it adds thermal mass to keep things cold longer when the power fails. We like the canned fruit. It's sweet, it's like a treat, when you're done you get to drink the juice and you don't have to cook it or wash the can. If you're not really hungry you may split a can.

    We actually had enough staples for about three months. There are lots of things that are cheap and keep well -- like rice, macaroni, etc. Just be sure to not stock just staples. There is a big psychological component to this game and you and your's will fair better if you're not locked into a boring diet. We also stock many, many kinds of spices -- far more than we normally use. They are cheap and they allow you to add variety to your diet, which is more important than it may seem. Studies have shown that some (usually the young and the old) will actually starve to death, even though they have plenty of food, if they are forced into an unchanging diet during a prolonged emergency. I can't source that but it comes up again and again in my reading.
    Quote Originally Posted by benh View Post
    ...If so, fueled by what, and did you cook inside or outside?...
    At the time of Katrina all we had was a Primus mountain stove and a few gals of white gas. I was kind of blind sided by the fact that I never considered the fact that in reality I wouldn't ever use that stove indoors because it was too dangerous. That was a HUGE oversight on my part. It meant that our diet was somewhat more restricted than it would have been otherwise, since we had no secure place outside to cook. This also shows how you may be surprised by really simple things when the chips are down even if you're sure you have a well thought out plan.

    We have moved to a place where we now have a secure location outside to cook and we keep around one hundred lbs of propane on hand all the time.

    Since then we've acquired a Coleman clamshell camp stove that runs on propane.

    EDIT Aug, 2012: As the years have gone by we've also acquired A Kelly Kettle, an ECOZOOM Versa Rocket Stove, an alcohol stove, a BBQ and a fire pit. I cook far more outside than inside all year long./EDIT

    EDIT June 11, 2013: About six months ago We bought the cast iron Lodge 8 quart, deep, camp Dutch oven. I love it. It is a gas to bake with. I fuel it with charcoal. I built a charcoal lighter that uses the Rocket Stove instead of the usual accelerant. Both items highly recommended. The next cooking purchase will be the Saratoga Jacks thermal retention cooker. Woohoo!/EDIT

    EDIT June 28, 2013: OK, we got the 7 Liter Saratoga Jacks thermal retention cooker and it is great for daily use as well as emergencies. Yesterday I heated up the ingredients for a beef stock that normally would have had to simmer for five hours on a stove. I did it outside with the Rocket Stove in a big improvised double boiler (to keep the SJ pot from getting sooty).

    When thoroughly heated I slipped it into the insulated SJ cooker and latched it shut. I opened it eight hours later and the stock was perfectly done and was at 162 DF, which is still a good bit above the 145 DF danger zone. I am going to use the heck out of this all year long. Its like a crock pot without a cord. /EDIT

    Quote Originally Posted by benh View Post
    ...Did you lose power? Use a generator? If so, how'd you handle noise?
    No, we did not have a generator.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra
    ...Three problems: 1) per day cost to operate, 2) they scream to looters that you have something worth taking, and 3) they make it immpossible to hear someone kicking down doors 150 feet away from your house. The vast majority of people who started out with generators in New Orleans were forced to bug out when they found ten armed strangers in their back yard. Most who have them have failed to really consider just how few times they are actually appropriate in a real emergency, and just what it takes to defend them...
    For us a generator might be OK if we lived in a very cohesive neighborhood filled with vigilant, armed, like-minded neighbors who were organized enough to set up a watch schedule after dark. I've also often thought that in some situations a generator could be run only during daylight hours -- to cool down the house and charge batteries. Snakes crawl at night.

    If the emergency is serious enough your generator may attract looters with guns and badges. My niece worked at the Endangered Species Center in New Orleans and after the storm the NOPD showed up in full force to "confiscate" their fuel...for the City. I won't be getting a generator anytime soon...IMO they are way more trouble than they are worth. In fact, the more serious the event is, the greater threat they pose to the owner.

    YMMV
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 01-06-2014 at 05:28 AM.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    If the emergency is serious enough your generator may attract looters with guns and badges. My niece worked at the Endangered Species Center in New Orleans and after the storm the NOPD showed up in full force to "confiscate" their fuel...for the City. I won't be getting a generator anytime soon...IMO they are way more trouble than they are worth. In fact, the more serious the event is, the greater threat they pose to the owner.YMMV

    That's a very disheartening situation. It's sad when your protector arrives to steal your supplies. Not good.
    The only light I need now is the "light at the end of the tunnel".....

  5. #65
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra
    No, we did not have a generator.
    Solar power with battery storage might have been a good thing to have in such a situation, provided the panels aren't too conspicuous.

    I guess you're probably more used to heat than I, but may I ask how it was possible to go without A/C in a climate like that? I remember the temps being in the mid 90s there after Katrina. Now normally most houses tend to get 10° to 30° above ambient during the day due to solar heating/body heat/etc. And you were forced to stay indoors most of the time. Didn't staying in a house which was probably at least 110°F present a danger, or at least a severe discomfort? I can probably cope with all sorts of less than ideal circumstances in a situation like that, but heat would most definitely not be one of them.

    Assuming you had a power source, I would think a geothermal A/C system might be very inconspicuous in a survival situation. The compressor and blower can be put in a sound-insulated room. No need for any large, loud fans to cool an evaporator since the ground does that silently. I guess someone with infrared goggles mght be able to pick you out, but not the average gangs of snakes, as you call them.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    ...I guess you're probably more used to heat than I, but may I ask how it was possible to go without A/C in a climate like that? I remember the temps being in the mid 90s there after Katrina. Now normally most houses tend to get 10° to 30° above ambient during the day due to solar heating/body heat/etc. And you were forced to stay indoors most of the time. Didn't staying in a house which was probably at least 110°F present a danger, or at least a severe discomfort? I can probably cope with all sorts of less than ideal circumstances in a situation like that, but heat would most definitely not be one of them....
    It was hot. It was the hottest September in New Orleans since the invention of accurate thermometers... We were fortunate in that we lived in a very well built 175 year old house that was not only designed to cool itself, but it was also always in the shade. It had high ceilings, transoms and was sheilded from the heat by the second floor where my landlord lived. She told me it was always 25° F hotter throughout her apartment than in ours. I am also much practiced at using the cooling power built into these old houses -- most aren't -- they run the AC 24/7 for 9 months or more each year and have no idea of how their house was designed to work. There were a few people who came into our house before the power came back on and most of them commented with surprise at how cool it was. It was still a pretty hot season. It is striking how few have any idea of why old southern houses were designed the way they were.

    After the 2.5 weeks it took to use (after filtering) the stabilized water I had filled the tub with before the storm I refilled it from the tap as the water was turned back on at about K+11 days, after nearly everyone had been driven out of their homes. I treated the water stiffly with chlorine -- more than I would use if I were going to filter and drink it later -- and then whenever I got hot I would just jump into the tub for ten min and shed some BTUs. I kept my face and hands out of the water and it worked really well. Ten min before bed and I could sleep. Ten min in the middle of the night and I could go back to sleep.

    Just the day before yesterday I was contemplating ordering a few of these high tech towels. While I couldn't find my original link, they were claiming that these types of towels were being used in Iraq. If anyone has any experience with this product I'd be interested in their opinion. I have not used them but I have had very favorable results using those wierd gell-filled neck bands that you pre-soak in water. They make me feel about 5% cooler and while that doesn't sound like much, it may be the difference between not feeling too bad and going completely nutz. Both of the above products will work better in environs with low relative humidity but I've found the neck bands to be very worthwhile even in our high humidity.

    I should also mention that some people are not psychologically equipped to deal without AC for any length of time at all. Oddly, I find that these people were usually born and raised in the South. I don't get that. In any event, there are many things that one may do to feel cooler by 4% here and 2% there and another 6% here. That rational approach works very well for Mrs Umbra and I but we've both noticed that there is a huge slice of the population that will always just freak out at even the thought of losing AC. Anyone who falls into that catagory is going to have a rough ride at best.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 08-06-2007 at 08:19 PM.

  7. #67
    Flashaholic Ras_Thavas's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by creampuff View Post
    Hi Sub,
    Thanks for this thread. Living in earthquake territory I keep several flats of bottled water, but doing an inventory, I realized I should plan for a longer stay just in case.

    I just ordered for a First Need Deluxe water purifier. Does any backpacker/hikers out there have any experience with this one?

    http://www.generalecology.com/portablesystem.htm

    The only problem I see with this filter is the micron size it will handle. It says it is good up to .4 microns. The Katadyn and Big Berkey both filter out particles up to .2 microns.

    I have also seen recently a couple of new items that would be useful for storing water. One is a bladder that sits in a pickup truck bed and you fill it water. The other is a bladder that sits in your bath tub and you fill it with water. This would prevent the water from leaking out around a the drain seal and keep it clean if you intended to use it for drinking. Sorry I can't find any links for these products.

    I have recently been keeping my old laundry detergent jugs (the large ones that have the side spout) and filling them with tap water when the detergent is used up. I am not rinsing them out as I plan to use this water as wash up water in case of long term need. They are very sturdy plastic, and the design is such that you could set it over the edge of the sink and use the spout to portion it out for washing. You could also sit it on the edge of the toilet tank and fill the tank for flushing. I would not drink this water, but these could be refilled from any available gray water source.

    Someone mentioned gathering water from the roof. I don't think it is a good idea to drink water that has flowed off of an asphalt shingled roof. The water can be gathered for other purposes though. I think if you plan to drink water from your roof you would be in better shape if you get a metal roof installed.

    If you don't want to get a camping stove to heat food you can always get a couple of cans of sterno and keep them on hand. You can make a small stove out of them. Just find a small metal can that is slightly larger than the sterno can in all dimensions and drill some holes in the sides for air flow. Place the sterno in the can and you can put another can or a small pot on top of it to heat it up.

    My week without power was a walk in the park compared to what Sub and other people went through. Fortunately I live in a small neighborhood and had no worries about running my generator. I still would like to get one of the Honda EU 2000 generators for times when I want quiet power. I had always read about how quiet they were, but I actually was shocked when I encountered one in "the wild" the other day. I was practically on top of it before I realized it was actually running.

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Sub Umbra,

    I was down on a very remote ranch in south Texas. The old coot that I know from my childhood is now in is 80's and still lives in the two bedroom house with no electricity that he was born in. He has had some contamination concerns about his windmill. He does not mind the illegals using his water but has concerns when they do the number 1 and 2 right under his windmill. He has a drip filter system like yours but his grand daughter has been working on some water filtration projects in the third world for several years and brought him something else to try out. She warned him not to use it untill she got the test samples from the well tested and the samples that had been run through this filter.

    What do you think??

    http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journa...watertreatment

    I would love to hear the results but it is a 350 mile round trip just to say hello. He does not even have a mailing address.

    this is a guy that does not exist in the system except for 2 years of service that ended mid 1946.
    "Before the invention of the internet, village idiots tended to stay in their own villages"

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    ledlurker,

    Interesting link. I hadn't run into that story. My Katadyn is ceramic/silver but was a larger investment.

    Lately I've been reading quite a bit about Pasteurization. If one brings water to just 149° F for a few minutes it will kill or deactivate bacteria, viri, crypto, giardia and pretty much everything the filters get. It's pretty neat and doesn't take much fuel -- in fact in many, many locales it can be accomplished with solar, using no fuel at all.

    I'm totally sold on the filters but for folks who can't/won't plan or spend much for emergency water planning Pastuerization is a very attractive option. For $5-8 a WAPI in your kit may be used many different ways to make safe drinking water.

    WAPIs are also great for a fallback plan.

  10. #70
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Even 3 mil - and 6 mil mentioned - are...surely that's not 3mm and 6mm ? That's thick! Too thick for bags. I can get some pretty thick strong refuse bags, but...


    Well done - for this thread and for not ending up in the stadium. I read something about it quite recently which covered it a lot more extensively than what I saw on tv at the time. Your information about the NOPD adds more, that I hadn't thought of.

    I know it's not about water, but...(from that other thread)...

    If you've done your homework and are laying low it's quick and easy to make your place look very occupied on just a moment's notice.
    How?

  11. #71
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by cat View Post
    Even 3 mil - and 6 mil mentioned - are...surely that's not 3mm and 6mm ? That's thick! Too thick for bags...
    No, not mm. I don't actually know how thick a mil is but it's pretty thin compared to a mm. It's got to be 1/1000 of something. 'Contractor bags' are often 3 mil. I keep a couple rolls/boxes around because they are so handy in emergencies. I've actually never seen 6 mil bags. I keep 6 mil plastic sheeting on hand all the time, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra
    ... If you've done your homework and are laying low it's quick and easy to make your place look very occupied on just a moment's notice...
    Quote Originally Posted by cat View Post
    How?
    Step outside and yell at the troops marching by your house. Pull down the blackout material and throw open your doors and windows. Light your lights. Put up a closeline in your front yard. Sit on your front steps...
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 02-11-2008 at 03:23 PM.

  12. #72
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    One mil is the thickness of 1/1000 of an inch. A specification usually reserved for coating thickness, and membrane measurement.

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Glad that i've stumbled upon this thread.


    _

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Hi all! I am reviving an old thread with this but I feel it is an option in water storage worthy to mention...

    How about integrating a water storage tank in the house plumping system?

    I have lived in two old apartment buildings (made in the 50s to 70s) in Greece’s second city and my sister lived in another two...All of them had water tanks on a “floor shelf” * in the bathroom. It is usually of 200-300 liters and supplied water to the toilet and a second faucet in the kitchen. Apparently at a certain long period water supply was on and off and this way there was available water for the family chores. The tanks themselves were made of galvanized sheet metal (tin?) and were filled with a switch controlled by a floating arm (sorry do not know the term)...the VERY good thing is that the water is ever-replenishing water and if made right not much exposed to air.

    Another option would be to jury rig a system with old water heaters/boilers...if the water mains/lines distibutor are in an accessible place, one could insert some boilers in a line to the bathroom. The boilers hold ever-replenishing water, do not loose it to gravity, and in an emergency one could drain it if a drain and an air-intake valve are integrated in the system....(I hope I was clear to what I am saying, I base my description in the Greek plumbing practices and do not know of the US ones)

    So how about this idea for water availability when bugging in?


    * sorry but I cannot describe it better than a second lower ceiling in the bathroom that makes space for the water heater, water tank and some storage.

  15. #75
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by kosPap View Post
    Hi all! I am reviving an old thread with this but I feel it is an option in water storage worthy to mention...

    How about integrating a water storage tank in the house plumping system?

    I have lived in two old apartment buildings (made in the 50s to 70s) in Greece’s second city and my sister lived in another two...All of them had water tanks on a “floor shelf” * in the bathroom. It is usually of 200-300 liters and supplied water to the toilet and a second faucet in the kitchen. Apparently at a certain long period water supply was on and off and this way there was available water for the family chores. The tanks themselves were made of galvanized sheet metal (tin?) and were filled with a switch controlled by a floating arm (sorry do not know the term)...the VERY good thing is that the water is ever-replenishing water and if made right not much exposed to air.

    Another option would be to jury rig a system with old water heaters/boilers...if the water mains/lines distibutor are in an accessible place, one could insert some boilers in a line to the bathroom. The boilers hold ever-replenishing water, do not loose it to gravity, and in an emergency one could drain it if a drain and an air-intake valve are integrated in the system....(I hope I was clear to what I am saying, I base my description in the Greek plumbing practices and do not know of the US ones)

    So how about this idea for water availability when bugging in?


    * sorry but I cannot describe it better than a second lower ceiling in the bathroom that makes space for the water heater, water tank and some storage.
    This sounds fine, but you need to disconnect from the main water line. You don't want contamination to enter your lines when the water system loses pressure.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
    Be prepared for the truth.

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    indeed....

    the open water tank is safe anyways

    the in-line one requires the attention you suggest....but it wcan be a simple task to disconnect> all you need is two valves...on to cutoof the water in, and the other at 90 degs to let air in....you will be draining water manually anyway,,,

    No if you miss the chance you will still have water for the loo and that covers the biggest hygiene issue.

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    this isn't as practical but, IF you could incorporate the tank into a jacket lining the walls and cieling of your house, or just a room, you could also get good protection from Gamma rays during a violent solar storm -- (the kind that causes blackouts)

    there are a couple of satellites watching for these eruptions on the sun and you would hopefully have time to get in there, and they would last only a few minutes..I think..

    This method is actually used in planned human habitats for the moon..the main building is protected by a couple feet of earth -- I mean MOON -- !!! hehe --- and then there is an inner core protected by water jacket, small, everyone has to huddle together standing, but it works, evidently..

  18. #78
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    I have a bit of experience with extra inline tanks. Where I grew up the ground water was about 20 D F colder than anywhere in the surrounding region. It came out of the tap at ~45 D F! It tacked on a huge added cost to heat every gallon that went through the water heater.

    I put the word out to some plumbers I knew to look out for a 30-50 gallon pressure tank that was being pulled from a building. One of them found a 30 gal tank rated at 120psi. It was just a bare steel tank with no insulation. He gave it to me. I installed it in the basement right next to the water heater. I ran the water from the well into the bottom of it and connected the outlet at the top to the water heater inlet. Locals called it a Tempering Tank. It allowed the cold water to come up to air temperature for free before going into the water heater.

    Even if you have normal temp well water or even city water I highly recommend one or more inline tanks. Once they are installed there is little to maintain for the boost in your emergency water storage capacity and you never even have to give a thought to rotating it. It takes care of itself.

    If I owned my own house I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

  19. #79
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Haven't you written a book yet, Sub? It takes too long to sit and read through all these threads..

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    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Haven't you written a book yet, Sub? It takes too long to sit and read through all these threads..
    I am currently working on a hard copied "documentation project" which while falling far short of a book, is a step in that direction. I am a true pathological archivist and I'm always kind of awash in weird snippets of information trying to get away from me.

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I am currently working on a hard copied "documentation project"
    Excellent.
    Your approach is very endearing, being so straight-forward and unassuming.
    A lot of your craft is very similar to leave no trace trekking and backpacking. You are trying to minimize your impact on your environment (your house) so that you can remain there for a very long time. The sanitation posts are all about keeping your house (ney camp site) from deteriorating during your long stay.
    The Backpacker's Field Manual was my entry into leave no trace. But urban environments have their own constraints. You address them very well.

    Are you gonna put out a book and start a speaking / consulting tour?
    Installing Quantum Tunneling Composite (QTC) into M@glite Solitare

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    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    This is a great topic for this thread. Very little thought is given to plumbing kinks and tweaks that may make your house much easier to live in during an emergency.

    As turbodog noted, there must be a provision for disconnecting your pressure plumbing from the muni system in an emergency to avoid sucking potentially contaminated water into your tank(s). It's funny -- everyone writes how you may drink the water in your water heater in an emergency but almost none mention that if you just turn on your tap after during a water crisis one of two things will happen. You'll either possibly contaminate your water stored inline or else you won't be able to get any of it out because you won't be able to 'break the vacuum.'

    Remember that if you have any leaky faucets or a runny toilet and you're not home or have neglected to shut your house off from the city during an event that contaminates the muni water, it will be sucked into yours -- contaminating it. On the other hand, if your plumbing is all tight the water in your system should be good even if it's not cut off from the city as long as no one has used any water since the event. Even if the water in your system becomes suspect it's not the end of the world. It may still be treated and used -- at least you'll have some water to work with.

    As already mentioned, thoughtfully placed valves will solve this problem at installation time but there is a refinement or two that may save you money on the whole setup and add utility to your system also.

    Instead of using valves both high and low for cutoff, access and vacuum breaking consider 'waste couplings' in the higher places for breaking vacuums. A waste coupling is just a normal coupling for joining two lengths of pipe with the addition of a small,threaded, gasketed cap or plug built into it which may be loosened or removed to drain water from a line directly or to break the vacuum so the line may be drained from a lower location.

    They cost just a little more than standard couplings but not as much as valves do. They are also much smaller than valves and may be installed in places a tee and valve won't fit. Decide just where you will need them and then give it some more thought before installation. They should be installed so they are oriented in such a way as to make their access as quick and easy as possible when they must be used. If all of the plumbing is going in new and not a retrofit be sure that no pipes or equipment as yet uninstalled will block access.

    Also consider S&W valves (Stop and Waste) for some locations. Like the waste couplings, S&W valves have a little plug or cap built in so that after the line has been shut off with the valve part, the dead side of the line may be easily and quickly drained without cutting into the pipe. The S&W valve may also be used for vacuum breaking and it also has the advantages of being cheaper and much smaller than tees and spigots.

    Here's another use for S&W valves and Waste couplings for enhancements to pressure plumbing systems for those who live in cold weather locales. If your power goes down long enough and it's cold enough outside you may be hit by a triple whammie. Your pipes may freeze. You may be without water for the duration of the crisis. When it's over you not only have the costly plumbing repairs to make and pay for but also the costs incurred by all of the water damage.

    A little thought and planning and the use of a few S&W valves and Waste couplings may save you a bundle of money and make your plumbing more robust by an order of magnitude and save you a world of grief both during and in the aftermath of cold weather power outages.

    In the 70s I owned a house in a cold weather clime that needed all new plumbing. I came up with a plumbing plan that made it easier to deal with three potential problems associated with cold weather threats to plumbing. I'll use it as an example.

    If you're putting in a new pressure system where it's cold the first thing to consider is the slope of the pipe runs. This is virtually never considered in pressure systems but it may save you thousands of bucks -- and headaches. Modern home pressure water systems are not designed to be drained easily by the owner. Normally one must call a plumber who blasts the water out with a compressed gas like co2 or else the water is displaced with some toxic fluid that won't freeze. Both of these are costly, creepy and complicated solutions to a problem that won't even exist in a well designed system. That's where the slope comes in -- it allows you to build a system you may safely evacuate in minutes. Plumbers want you to have to call them to drain the lines.

    In planning, I looked at what part of the house was hardest to keep warm and designed it so that zone could be shut down and drained with nothing but a screwdriver in just a moment. I also had an 'intermediate' zone which was nothing more than allowing the cold faucet at the kitchen sink to function while the rest of the house's water was shut down and drained. Finally, at the core I could still get cold water from the tanks in the basement even though all water was shut down and drained from all of the other pipes throughout the rest of the house.

    This isn't rocket science. It does involve regarding your house as a shelter, something not done often these days.

    This kind of planning may not only minimize plumbing damage during really cold emergencies but also, If the worst should happen and your plumbing should sustain some damage your family will be able to go on day to day using water while the repairs are underway since only the affected parts of the plumbing will need to be shut down.

    It may sound complex but if you were planning to do it yourself anyway it's really not much more than an added detail here and there.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 10-10-2009 at 09:11 PM.

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    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by Linger View Post
    ...Are you gonna put out a book and start a speaking / consulting tour?
    The DOC project is HUGE. It's all the stuff I still want access to if for some reason I can't access the files on the big thumb drive. I've been putting it off for years.

    Just the food and water stuff runs over 200 pages... I also didn't write most of it so it couldn't be included in any book by me. The DOC project will help me from an organizational point of view for future dissemination. I'm in the final planning stages of starting a preparedness blog but current events have pushed that to the back burner for now. Oh yeah...

    As far as the consulting goes -- I'm wrapped way too tight for that. Heck, I haven't even been out of New Orleans since '97. Actually, like Chef in Apocalypse Now, I'm "...even wrapped too tight for New Orleans."
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 10-10-2009 at 01:49 PM.

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    Flashaholic* Linger's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    The DOC project is HUGE. It's all the stuff I still want access to if for some reason I can't access the files on the big thumb drive. I've been putting it off for years
    I'll stay tuned for details. I've had much the same thought a while ago. I suspect many are in this boat with me, that we can all rebuild or fix just about anything with google. But just how many schematics and diagrams (heck, even destructive incan bulb ratings) exist in paper form, or do we have run-time for on our laptops?
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodog View Post
    A lot of this is academic. Not in the sense that you won't use the water or need the water, but that perfectly clean water is required.

    I don't care about a little algae growth. It's not gonna affect taste, nor will it give me the runs. I'm concerned about e. coli, giardia, and the like contaminating it.

    I have drank water that was stored in UN-sterile containers for over a year. It tasted fine. Only later did I discover the mold growth in it. And this process has happened several times.

    But, for those that want to store plenty of water, there is some company that sells bladders that go under your bed. They hold several hundred gallons and don't cost a lot.

    If there _is_ a threat to the water we simply fill the sinks and tubs. It takes very little time to clean a tub, and I would have no problem drinking the water that comes from it.

    Ask yourself how many times you drank bathwater as a kid. I think you will find you body is tougher than you think.
    Good advice. POTABLE is not sterile. It means "non harmful".

    Has anyone here suggested a cistern???????
    I have gutters, and my downspouts can be replaced with flex hose tubes, and those hoses can be routed to a portable water tank that I bought at Rural King for 220 bucks on sale (normally 250 ish) it could be mounted on a trailer frame (harbor freight) if you don't have a truck. I use this for FREE garden and cow water.... In an emergency if I have no water, even a brief rain collected from my roof will fill this tank fast. 1/2 inch of rain on a 1200 Sq. ft roof is a LOT of water...
    Go here to find the tank:http://www.ruralking.com/tank-pickup-450-gallon.html
    Add a battery pump and you can even take showers without filling a gravity bag...

    I learned about cisterns in the Army while taking a class on field sanitation and hygene. The instructor showed us some simple systems.

  26. #86
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    While many kinds of algae may be harmless to consume in and of themselves those who filter their drinking water will want to keep their filters clear of them so that they will remain functional. We have filtered all of our drinking water for over ten years (for coli, giardia, crypto and all of the other usual suspects) and wouldn't want it going down when we may need it most just because of algae.

    Roof runoff has long been a part of our 'water plan.' Two and a half weeks after Katrina blew threw we picked up 85-95 gal in just a few minitues as Rita approached. The most important things are to (1) study your situation ahead of time so you'll know where the most water will run off and (2) have all of your containers cleaned and ready to go.

    For a permanent installation there are plans and even ready made products that will dump the first few minutes of runoff so it may carry away most of the dust settled on the roof since the last rain.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 02-24-2010 at 11:20 AM.

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    No thanks on the rainwater from the roof, unless I just use it for flushing toilets. I don't care for the flavor of bird droppings in my water. This isn't the bird equivalent of civet cat coffee.

    Quote Originally Posted by vtxrecruiter View Post
    Good advice. POTABLE is not sterile. It means "non harmful".

    Has anyone here suggested a cistern???????
    I have gutters, and my downspouts can be replaced with flex hose tubes, and those hoses can be routed to a portable water tank that I bought at Rural King for 220 bucks on sale (normally 250 ish) it could be mounted on a trailer frame (harbor freight) if you don't have a truck. I use this for FREE garden and cow water.... In an emergency if I have no water, even a brief rain collected from my roof will fill this tank fast. 1/2 inch of rain on a 1200 Sq. ft roof is a LOT of water...
    Go here to find the tank:http://www.ruralking.com/tank-pickup-450-gallon.html
    Add a battery pump and you can even take showers without filling a gravity bag...

    I learned about cisterns in the Army while taking a class on field sanitation and hygene. The instructor showed us some simple systems.
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    I bet some people in New England wish they had better prepared for recent events, and to think Irene hit only as a tropical storm. Interesting to see this thread and imagine what Sub & Mrs. Umbra went through with Katrina. I was thinking of ordering this paperback.

    Despite storing up about 8 gallons of water run through my RO filtration system, I began to realize once they turn off the water pressure supply, you need a Katadyn type simple filter.

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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    I've never read any of Rawles' books but he is an interesting guy. He has a catastroficist mindset (abrupt, total collapse of society with hordes of zombies streaming from the cities) but I try to keep up with his site, which is huge. His site covers such a broad range of topics that there is probably something there for nearly any prepper. He has a Links page that I have totally mined out.

    I'm also a really a big fan of Peak Oiler James Michael Greer, Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America and author of The Archdruid Report which comes out every Wednesday night. NOTE: The Archdruid Report is not about Druidism or any other religion at all -- it's more of a peak oil blog that relates to the slower catabolic collapse of industrial society..
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 09-05-2011 at 12:14 PM.

  30. #90
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    Default Re: An Emergency Water Epiphany

    Quote Originally Posted by meuge View Post
    As a medical scientist I have access to distilled, deionized water. In theory, as long as it's kept in an inert container, I presume I should be able to keep it indefinitely.
    Have you ever drank this water? You are not much of a scientist if you don't know that this water will eventually kill you if you drink it exclusively. You know, osmolarity and stuff.

    I guess I am assuming you are talking about 15mOhm or 18mOhm pure lab water, in which case it's pure and clean...and pretty corrosive as far as water goes. Tastes good, though.

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