During a power outage, you should avoid draining water into the sewer to avoid flooding the sewers. It is advisable not to flush the toilet and to collect water from the tap in a bucket. During a power outage, water supply may continue for some time or stop immediately. It is advisable to follow the information of the water supply company in your area and follow its instructions, as the instructions may vary from region to region.
– In most households, the water supply continues normally or at a slightly lower pressure during a short power outage, two hours, for example. During an outage, water can be used as drinking water normally and the outage does not affect the water quality, says preparedness specialist Essi Kulju from the Finnish National Rescue Association.
However, even a short power outage affects wastewater disposal and treatment, as electricity-powered pumps are used to transfer water to wastewater treatment plants, and these pumps stop for the duration of the outage. If a pump is not equipped with backup power, the wastewater will not move forward in the pipe during a power outage.
– The discharge of water into the sewer during an outage should be avoided so that the wastewater from the sewer network does not cause overflows into the environment or flood the sewers into properties, Kulju says.
If a power outage causes disturbances in the water supply or wastewater disposal and treatment, they will be announced on the website of the water supply company or municipality, which should be monitored in the event of a disturbance. Many water supply plants also have a disturbance SMS service to which water users can register.
Water from the tap should be collected
Water from the tap can be used also during an outage to wash hands or cook, for example, if water is still available. However, a bucket, bowl or other container should be placed under the tap to collect excess drained water. After the electricity has been restored, the container can be emptied into the sewer.
During a short power outage, you should not take a shower or bath. Other heavy water use should also be avoided.
– Although water may still come from the tap during a power outage, you should keep drinking water for all household members in bottles. During a long power outage, water supply also stops, and then it is good to have 6–10 liters of water per person just in case, Kulju says.
In addition, clean canisters should be kept at home. They can be used to pick up water from a water distribution point that the municipality arranges during longer water outages.
Flushing the toilet should be avoided
Even during a short outage, many people need to use the toilet. The toilet seat can be used during an outage, but the toilet should only be flushed after the electricity has been restored. Toilet paper can be collected in a garbage bag so that the toilet seat does not become clogged.
If a power outage lasts for a long time or you have to use the toilet several times otherwise, you can use a plastic bag placed under the ring of the toilet seat. Place a large amount of liquid-absorbing material, such as toilet paper, egg cartons or shredded newspaper, in the plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag well and pack it inside two other plastic bags. Close the outermost bag carefully and place it in mixed waste.
– Even during a power outage, it is important to take care of good hand hygiene. If water still comes out of the tap, you can wash your hands over a bucket. If there is no water, you can use wet wipes and hand sanitiser, Kulju advises.