How dependant are we on the grid to get our drinking water?

LuxLuthor

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
10,629
Location
MS
I was on a construction project some years back and noticed a frozen pipe on a tanker load of "curing compund" had burst and was getting onto the interstate. Curing compund is a combination of water, wax and kerosene that is sprayed over concrete to hold the surface moisture from evaporating.

This one fellow thought he was helping and moved the truck away from the roadway. Trouble was now this stuff was getting into the storm drain system. The system that drained to the cities main resevior. Uh oh. The tank held about 1000 gallons and the resevior about a billion gallons give or take a few million. Yet it wasn't long before a white cloud began to show on the surface at the edge of the lake.

It was quickly contained, so no harm no foul but..... nearby was what is called a tank farm. As in about 100 tanks of gasoline at about 3 million each. Also nearby was a railroad where large lengths of train cars carrying hazardous chemicals like those in Palestine Ohio is dealing with. It's a very vulnerable water system to say the least. That was one of the few places I've ever lived that I wouldn't drink the tap water. Shoot, I didn't want to breathe the air there either but had no choice in that matter.
Yikes
 

TPA

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
305
Location
Florida
Also, with regard to filling a bathtub (especially before a hurricane makes landfall), if there is soap film in the tub your water is not going to taste it's best. More worrisome is the fact that many tub drain stoppers leak. Even a tiny leak can drain the tub overnight.

I can say from experience (Hurricane Ian), a properly-maintained bathtub will hold water for a very long time. In my case, 3.5+ months before I finally pulled the plug because the water was just getting stale, even with pouring some bleach in it every other week. The tub water's for flushing toilets and other non-potable uses. We used water drained from the water heater for potable uses. Still filtered it with a Sawyer filter just to be safe. I've not used a bathtub bladder before, but it sounds like a good idea. It was 4 months before we had running water restored to the building, another 3 months before they got the jockey pumps installed to get water upstairs.

When disaster strikes, everyone needs the same basic essentials and there isn't enough to go around. You need at least a few days supply of food, water, and some spare gas for your car to get away from the madness. Get to where water and food are more abundant, then break out the portable water filters. Sawyer Squeeze is an affordable lightweight one. Have at least one per two people. If you're able to stay in your home, also have a gravity purifier like the Lifestraw Mission.
This. Portability is key. I never imagined that I'd be homeless due to a natural disaster. After all, my home was intentionally built to handle a Cat 5 hurricane... and it did and kept everyone safe. BUT, the building's and island's infrastructure was wounded. The building was designed to handle a Cat 4 without damage, and has done so many times. A Cat 5 is a different story...it was designed to keep people safe and comfortable during such a storm, and still be repairable afterwards. Despite discussing this at length with the engineer and architects, the reality of the aftermath of such a storm never sunk in.
 

Poppy

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
8,309
Location
Northern New Jersey
I don't think our tub would hold water that long. When the topic comes up about a water bladder, I briefly consider getting one, and then dismiss the thought. I don't think I would ever use it in preparation, and only later say oh poop, I should have filled that bladder.

I do consider that I have a box of 50-gallon contractor plastic bags that can be used as bladders.
 

jtr1962

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 22, 2003
Messages
7,502
Location
Flushing, NY
As far as I know the water supply for my entire city is gravity fed, similar to the Roman aqueduct system. We never lost water during long blackouts, including the 4 days power was out after Sandy. Taller buildings though obviously need pumps or a water tower. Water towers are pretty common on top of 5+ story prewar buildings in Manhattan, for example. I don't know how many were replaced by variable-speed pumps at this point.


The NYC Aqueduct is a pressure tunnel (a gravity feed system) with hydraulic head provided by a 300 m difference in elevation between the watershed headlands in upstate New York and the distribution area (NYC). The head is enough to get water under pressure to the sixth floor of most buildings without pumping.

The only time we had interruptions was the week they were replacing the water mains. They gave us a few days notice. I filled the tub to flush the toilet, and filled up a few gallon jugs for drinking water.
 

LuxLuthor

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
10,629
Location
MS
I don't think our tub would hold water that long. When the topic comes up about a water bladder, I briefly consider getting one, and then dismiss the thought. I don't think I would ever use it in preparation, and only later say oh poop, I should have filled that bladder.

I do consider that I have a box of 50-gallon contractor plastic bags that can be used as bladders.

Put a wide circle of rubber or saran wrap to get a good seal.
 

Poppy

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
8,309
Location
Northern New Jersey
Please do fill a couple of those bags with water and let us know how it works out. 😁

Consider filming the event. :popcorn:

You just might want to double check with a urologist about that... :unsure:
Uhhh yeah, but it might take me a month of midnight runs to fill even just one. So you'll have to wait a while. Maybe until Christmas.
 

Poppy

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
8,309
Location
Northern New Jersey
Wait. What? I thought you were considering using the trash bags to store water in case of an emergency. Did I miss a step somewhere along the thread?
I thought that you were referring to urinary bladders and that I should film, filling a contractor bag from my urinary bladder.
I thought it was a odd attempt at humor, but not terrible.
Certainly @IMA SOL MAN picked up on the inference.

Oh well,
I've never filled a contractor's bag with water while it was sitting/resting in the tub, but I don't think it will be particularly challenging. Maybe, there would be a need for a couple of them to give each other lateral support.

Oh and the reference is about tub bladders to be used as emergency back up water sources.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2010
Messages
10,031
Location
Pacific N.W.
I thought that you were referring to urinary bladders and that I should film, filling a contractor bag from my urinary bladder.
Nope. :barf:

I thought it was an odd attempt at humor, but not terrible.
Yes, odd and not funny.
Certainly @IMA SOL MAN picked up on the inference.
I quickly skipped over his post thinking it was a sideline.
Oh well,
I've never filled a contractor's bag with water while it was sitting/resting in the tub, but I don't think it will be particularly challenging.
I figured as much. Saving some water would be one thing. Filling one while in a bathtub would be an entirely different endeavor.
Maybe, there would be a need for a couple of them to give each other lateral support.
Yes, that's what I wanted to watch.
Oh and the reference is about tub bladders to be used as emergency back up water sources.
I was always aware. Film at 11?
 

M@elstrom

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
2,180
Location
Sunraysia, Australia
I don't think our tub would hold water that long. When the topic comes up about a water bladder, I briefly consider getting one, and then dismiss the thought.

Our roof top evaporative (swamp) cooler has a conventional sink drain and have found a rubber plug in good condition smeared with a layer of petroleum jelly (around it's circumference) seals perfectly 👍

Water jerry cans would be more robust than bladders but take up more space when not required.
 

IMA SOL MAN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
2,126
Location
The HEART of the USA.
Our roof top evaporative (swamp) cooler has a conventional sink drain and have found a rubber plug in good condition smeared with a layer of petroleum jelly (around it's circumference) seals perfectly 👍

Water jerry cans would be more robust than bladders but take up more space when not required.
True. However, what they lack in space efficiency is compensated by portability and ease of use. Plus, versatility of storage location is superior, as you can fit them into smaller places that would otherwise be wasted space. Plus, it doesn't occupy your bathtub, which you may need for doing laundry or bathing. Plus, they can be left filled during normal operations and not affect day to day life. :)

If the outage is long term, you can transport (by foot or vehicle) water jerry cans to a water source for filling and transport back, whereas a huge water bladder may not be feasible. Then there is the matter of floor weight load...which I will leave to the STEM nerds on here to argue about. :rolleyes:
 

M@elstrom

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
2,180
Location
Sunraysia, Australia
If the outage is long term, you can transport (by foot or vehicle) water jerry cans to a water source for filling and transport back, whereas a huge water bladder may not be feasible. Then there is the matter of floor weight load...which I will leave to the STEM nerds on here to argue about. :rolleyes:

I purchased 2 water jerry cans for remote camping years ago, the alternative (and to which I was referring previously) smaller water bladders whilst conveniently stored when not in use didn't appear anywhere near as robust albeit equally portable.

Screenshot_20231106-121507_Chrome.jpg
 

TPA

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
305
Location
Florida
Our roof top evaporative (swamp) cooler has a conventional sink drain and have found a rubber plug in good condition smeared with a layer of petroleum jelly (around it's circumference) seals perfectly 👍
Just curious, how gross does a swamp cooler get on the inside? We don't use them here in Florida, but on the large HVAC chillers I've worked on, they get absolutely disgusting inside, especially if someone isn't maintaining them right.
 

kaichu dento

Flashaholic
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Messages
6,554
Location
現在の世界
Here's a very in depth video that shows an old steam driven water supply system, but also goes a bit into explaining water supply systems in general.

 

PewPewPew

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jul 26, 2023
Messages
46
Location
Dothan, AL.
There's quite a few ways of making water safe to drink. You can filter it all you want, but to sterilize it you should use either bleach or ammonia, or boil it. Most municipal water treatment uses ammonia gas to sterilize water because it costs less than bleach. However you can buy a 50lb bag of calcium hypochlorite at lowes or a pool supply for pretty cheap and it will give you a lot of disinfectant power. Enough for an emergency and then some.

In the less developed countries they drink a lot of tea. There's a social aspect of it, but it's also necessary to boil water to make it safe to drink. If you do plan on storing calcium hypochlorite you're going to have to store it well away from anything you don't want rusting. The gas it gives off will brown any tools you have in the vicinity.
 
Top