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Sewage disposal

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View the official Te Whatu Ora PDF resource here

What’s the risk?

In a natural disaster or emergency event, your sewerage system may be damaged. This means you may not be able to use your toilet until your council advises it’s safe to use again.

If your sewerage system has been damaged, then you will need to use a temporary toilet until it is fixed.

A guide to temporary toilets

Use a chemical or portable toilet if you have one or make a temporary toilet.

How to make a temporary toilet — inside:

Wear gloves to avoid contamination and follow these steps:

1. Shut off the water valve behind the cistern.
2. Remove the lid of the cistern and use a container to empty water from the cistern (this water can be re-used.)
3. Using a container, remove water from the toilet bowl and dispose of this water.
4. Use your existing toilet, or a bucket. Fit a large heavy duty plastic rubbish bag into the toilet bowl or bucket.
5. Make sure there are no holes in the plastic bag so that it does not leak.
6. Place shredded paper in the bottom of the bag to collect urine.
7. Put down the toilet lid or cover the bucket when not in use.
8. Put half a cup of bleach into the collection bag every morning.

When the bag becomes half full:

1. Put on rubber gloves.
2. Tie the top of the bag and remove it carefully.
3. Bury the bag outside. DO NOT BURY IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN.

For those without garden space, the bag should be deposited into a designated wheelie bin. This bin should be covered with a lid, and lined with a thick plastic leak proof liner and situated outside, preferably in a shaded area if possible. There should be limited access for the general public and the bag must be clearly labelled “for infectious body waste only”.

How to make a longdrop toilet — outside:


1. Where you have space, dig a hole one metre deep.
2. Construct a seat from planks of wood.

• Each time the long drop is used either cover the waste with dirt or cover the hole.
• To reduce smells and flies throw a little garden lime, insecticide or disinfectant into the hole.
• Use the long drop until the waste is within 300mm from the top (ground level).
• Fill in hole with soil and make a new long drop.

Important health tips

  • Wash and dry your hands, every time, after using the toilet or handling human waste.
  • Limit the number of people handling waste – nominate one family member to manage the collection and disposal of waste.
  • Cover all containers and holes to reduce smells and flies.
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