During a long-term disaster there’s a chance that the water will stop running and you won’t be able to flush your toilets. If you live right next to a lake or river, this might not be a problem. Since toilets take a few gallons of water to flush, you could just haul enough water back to your home so that everyone can flush when they go number 2. You’d have to to do it on a daily basis, but it might be worth the effort.
On the other hand, if there are a lot of dangerous people in your area it might not be safe to walk to and from a lake or river everyday. And if you’re like most people, you probably don’t live near such an abundant source of water, anyway. If the water stops running, you’ll need another solution. Knowing what to do with waste is very important whether you’re trying to survive in the wilderness or in the city.
The simplest solution is to get a portable toilet for whenever people need to go number 1. At the end of the day you can dump the bucket in a low-lying area. As for number 2, I recommend getting a second portable toilet and using small trash bags as liners. Then when you’re done, you can just tie the bag and throw it away.
If the water isn’t running, then it’s likely there’s no garbage collection, either. Because of this, you’ll have to bury your waste. If you’re using trash bags, then it should suffice to dig a deep hole somewhere on your property (preferably as far from your home as possible). Every time you throw a trash bag into the hole, cover it with a layer of dirt.
Before I move on, I want to point out that if you get your water from a well or a stream, you need to bury your waste at least two hundred feet (about 70 steps) downstream and downhill from your water source. It is very dangerous to drink feces-contaminated water as it can lead to all sorts of diseases and infections, the most common of which is E. Coli.
If you’re in the wilderness or on the move, your best option is to dig what’s known as a “cathole”. Simply dig a hole that’s at least six inches deep and four inches wide, and relieve yourself in it. Once you’re done, fill the hole with the dirt you dug up (be sure your shovel doesn’t touch the waste) and cover the spot with grass and leaves.
After a few days in the same area there might be several catholes nearby, so you want to make sure no one accidentally digs one up when they go to dig their own. To avoid this, mark the spot with a large rock or by poking a large stick into the ground. There are other options, though. Anything that people in your group will recognize and that won’t blow away should work.
If you’re going to ride out the disaster at home or if you’re going to be in the same area for a long time, you’ll need a more permanent solution. The best option is a latrine. Dig a trench that’s at least one foot wide, one foot deep, and four feet long (if you expect to be using it for a very long time, dig it even deeper). Stick some posts in the ground so you can balance yourself while doing your business, and put a tarp or floorless tent over it so you can have some privacy. Once you’re done, cover the waste with a thin layer of dirt. Depending on the length of the disaster, you may have to fill in your latrine and dig a new one. Hopefully it won’t come to that.