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K.G. man offers water-use suggestions
After frequent power outages, King George County man came up with a plan to always have water on hand

Date published: 9/2/2012

King George County resident Sam Overman has gotten used to frequent power outages at his rural home.

When he loses electricity, he also loses running water. He's developed a solution as part of his disaster kit and offers the following suggestions in this season of regular thunderstorms:


When well water is plentiful, fill a number of 5-gallon plastic buckets with snap-on lids. Stir a tablespoon of ordinary chlorine bleach into each, then snap the lid on tightly.

Chlorine keeps the water from becoming funky during years of storage. The buckets can be stacked several high, and they should be marked as "flushing water."

The buckets should be stored where they will not be subjected to extremely high temperatures and where the water cannot freeze.


When a flush is called for, completely remove a water bucket's lid and pour the water into the toilet's bowl. Do not pour the water into the toilet's tank. Doing so will produce an unsatisfactory flush.

Hold the bucket crosswise to the bowl and aim the water at the china inside the front of the bowl to maximize the swirling action. Pour the water in rapidly, to cause the water level to rise up toward the bowl's rim and to keep the water level high until you get a complete flush.

Once the flush is over, the water level in the bowl will be low, so slowly add water from the bucket to bring up the water level a bit, but not enough to cause more flushing.

If water remains in the bucket after the flush, add it to remainders from other buckets to make up a full bucket. You may need it before the power is restored.


It's a good idea to practice flushing using a bucket of water before the need actually arises. Just fill a bucket from the bathtub or shower tap.

The squeamish can practice by first tossing just a bit of tissue into a clean toilet bowl. All members of the household should practice the real thing a few times, though.

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