Securing Potable Water Following A Disaster

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But these hazards can still disrupt water and wastewater services — So we ask our customers to take a few simple steps to prepare themselves for these unexpected interruptions. The links and publications within this section will help you to build a disaster kit with emergency supplies, create a disaster plan and stay informed before, during and after disaster strikes.

Long Beach Water Department E. Search Search this site:. Contact Us Pay Online. Hurricanes are massive swirling storms that form over warm waters and head toward land.


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In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons; similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones. Hurricanes pose threat to life and property due to their storm surge, high winds, torrential rains, flooding, mudslides, and tornadoes. Scientists use a scale from 1 least severe to 5 most severe to classify hurricane strength.

After an emergency, especially after flooding, clean drinking water may not be available. Municipalities, wells and other water systems can become absolutely overwhelmed and unable to process the sudden high influx of too much water. Flood waters can result in raw sewage, storm runoff, chemicals and other contaminants all leaking into water supplies, flooding private wells, etc.

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Once the water supply has been compromised, it can take days to weeks for your water to become potable again. Private well water owners are encouraged to test their systems and contact their local or state health department or agricultural extension agent for specific advice as soon as possible.


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  • During and after flooding, well water can become contaminated with microorganisms such as bacteria, sewage, chemicals and other substances that can cause serious illnesses. The CDC offers these guidelines for planning an emergency water supply: 5. If you need to find water outside your home, you can use the sources below.

    Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color. Do not drink flood water or eat any food directly exposed to flood water. Major pathogens that may be lurking in the water include: cryptosporidium, E.


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    • Drinking this contaminated water can cause illnesses ranging from gastrointestinal distress diarrhea, cholera, dysentery , typhoid fever, leptospirosis and Hepatitis A. Please note, if you are using a source of water that you believe might contain extreme viral and bacteriological contamination such as E. This should kill minute pathogens such as viruses, within 30 minutes.

      The main difference between a water filter and purifier is the level of protection each provides. A water filtration system is designed to reduce or remove waterborne protozoa and bacteria, but not viruses. The primary reason is that viruses are just too small for filters to catch.

      Ensuring safe water in post-chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies

      A water purifier is designed to combat all three types of contaminants: viruses, pathogenic bacteria, and protozoan cysts. Viruses can easily contaminate the water supply after a natural disaster such as a hurricane. Boiling or chlorination will kill most microorganisms but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals.

      A major problem with boiling water is capacity; you simply cannot treat very much water at one time. Boiling water also requires a source of fuel and a safe way to store the water while it cools.

      Groundbreaking Water System Enables Safe Drinking Water Following Natural Disasters

      The guidelines for boiling and disinfecting water are taken directly from the CDC website: 9. Like boiling, using a disinfectant will kill most microorganisms. It does not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals. Because the potency of bleach diminishes over time, use bleach from an unopened or newly opened bottle when possible. If you have run out of stored water gaining access to bottled water could be a real challenge. Potential obstacles:. If you can locate bottled water, be sure that it has not been exposed to flood water.

      Water & Sanitation Resources for Recovery and Reconstruction

      During a natural disaster such as a hurricane, it is critical to have a survival water filter system available that can be used with microbiologically unsafe or questionable water. In these situations, your water solution should fit the following criteria:. Do not wait for a boil alert or order. Water is only one of many things to consider when planning for a hurricane. Safety, food, clothing, shelter, communications and more all play a part.