Knowing that the power would go out for a day or more due to a storm several years ago, I saved the kid’s bathwater and put it in old 5 gallon buckets. We used this saved water to flush the toilets.
We normally waited for several uses before flushing anyways, so the kids were okay with this. I am sure you’ve heard that saying “if its yellow, let it mellow. If its brown, flush it down”. Not flushing so often helps to conserve water.
It is a good practice any time, but during an emergency, it is especially helpful.
It soon became apparent that the power would be out much longer, so I had to use this water sparingly.
By day 4, we ran out of the old bath water. So we started using quart sized yogurt containers to pee in, and then pouring that in old milk jugs to take outside.
We ended up putting the urine on top of the leaf piles and in the compost bin.
We found it really does turn the snow yellow.
Later that year, the toilet tank began leaking into the bowl. Fixing it took longer than I expected. It took me a couple to tries to get it correct, and while I worked, I turned off the intake water valve to the toilet.
I never turned it back on.
We haven’t used anything but old bath water, sometimes called “grey water”, to flush ever since. Grey water can be poured directly into the bowl, or you can pour it into the tank, so it is ready to flush using the lever.
I use a 2 gallon bucket to flush, since I don’t need to use more than that, and it is easier to pour from a bit higher level.
I’ve noticed that when I pour too slowly, I tend to use more water.
For just my urine (not the rest of my family), I save it. I dilute it with rainwater and use it as a fertilizer – urine has a lot of great nitrogen in it. The nitrogen fixing is usually applied before my neighbors are out and no one seems to have noticed!
My soil is improving all the time. It works!
Now you have a plan for the next storm if you are on a well with an electric pump.
Note: This article was an entry in our October – December 2014 writing contest. Click here to find out about our current writing contest.