Letter Re: Sanitation in Grid Down Situations

Monday, Apr 18, 2011

Hello James,  
I read the recent article on survival for apartment dwellers and I hate to burst a bubble but a major factor was left out: SANITATION. It's incredible domino effect is truly mind boggling!   Back in 1999 I was involved in writing a white paper for the government on the effects caused by no running water.   I am afraid I know what I am talking about and it's not a pretty picture.  In 1998 in Auckland, New Zealand there was a lengthy power failure that in turn led to several days without water and what happened after three days will blow your mind.  

People in general are not smart. Rather than try and conserve or make a plan once the water stopped flowing, they would flush their toilets. Without power from the force of water pressure the tank doesn't refill. The domino effect is not only gross but staggering, what human beings that have never lived beyond modern conveniences will do is unimaginable.   What I researched and wrote about blew my own mind...when people were actually confronted with such a situation, they went where ever they could - they filled the toilet, the toilet tank, the tub, the shower, the sink - when the bathrooms became uninhabitable, they went in corners, boxes, bags, closets...most however left by the time they were using the tub. Guess how long that took? That's right, the three days!   In such a structure (high up in a condo), if you do all the right things, in no way will that protect you from all those around you who did not. If anyone lives above you, remember, the pipes are clogged and the stuff is (figuratively) looking to escape out cracks and openings which means their "stuff" comes in though the ceiling of your place.  

Reality check: If you're prepared and they're not, where do you think they go for food and water? Are you going to shoot them all? Are you really a killer? That's what it will take and if any form of police shows up who do you think they are going to take away, never to be seen again?   Truth is, for all you people who think you can maintain in you present homes that are located in cities and suburbs will be at constant war, an out come I'm not sure would be worthy of surviving for, an outcome where projections say only 10% survive...  

James, I just touched the surface of what I wrote about as I no longer have the papers, this was from memory. Imagine if you can, what I just described was happening in one condo complex - now multiply by the number of just apartments and condos in your area. Remember how these buildings have managers right? Wrong. They are the first to go! You will be on your own. And I haven't even discussed the methane problem!  

The biggest problem in all these worse case scenarios is that they only know so much that they are capable of writing about to claim as a worse case - when in fact and in true reality the worse case scenarios are always incomprehensible, case in point today is what is happening in Japan. What was once thought of as sci-fi is now being considered as possible in both discoveries and disasters.   Well, take care - Dave B. 


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