Remaining "flush" during the Zombie Apocalypse
March 1, 2014 12:03 PM Subscribe
Not that I'm writing a Walking Dead
fan fiction or anything, but if I was
I have a few hypothetical questions about water towers, wells and human waste disposal during an extended power outage.
posted by Oriole Adams to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'd appreciate it if someone could explain water towers, gravity wells and the like to me in simple terms (unlike the extremely technical discussions I've found via Google). Suppose the electricity has been out for one year. Water towers work via gravity, right? As far as dispensing stored water, that is. Do they require some sort of electric pump to replenish the water? Suppose a small area, like a prison, has its own water tower - would the back-up generator that supplies electricity to the gates and lights also power the pumps connected to the water tower? (The back-up generator runs on diesel fuel, so the survivors are eventually able run it on used the abundance of cooking oil scavenged from fast food restaurants.)
What about wells - both gravity and artesian - on private property? How long would they continue to provide water to a house (or an outdoor hand pump) without any electricity? (I'm not worried about potability; let's presume our staunch survivors are always boiling any water they use for drinking or cooking.) And if either/or the water towers and wells continue to provide enough water for the sink taps, showers and toilets for an extended period of time, is it safe to keep using flush toilets when the traditional sewage treatment plants aren't functional? Or don't such plants require electricity? Is there a point where using either a homemade composting toilet or The Great Outdoors in general is inevitable when it comes to answer Nature's call?