After an earthquake, temporary water and sewer system outages may be unavoidable. Take some simple steps to be prepared.
STORE ENOUGH TAP WATER OR BOTTLED WATER TO LAST THREE TO SEVEN DAYS.
You’ll want one to two gallons per person per day of water. Store tap water in clean, airtight
food-grade plastic containers and keep it in a dark, cool place. Do not store tap water in used
milk containers or in glass. Label each container with the date it was stored and replace your
containers every six months.
BE PREPARED TO DISINFECT ADDITIONAL WATER SUPPLIES TO SUPPLEMENT WHAT YOU STORE.
Your emergency/disaster supplies should include a heat source, such as a camping stove, plus a
clean pot, measuring spoons or a clean medicine dropper, and a sealed bottle of regular, unscented
liquid bleach with no additives. Replace your bottle of bleach every six months.
DISINFECT ANY QUESTIONABLE WATER SUPPLIES.
Properly stored water is safe to drink. Disinfect your stored water if the container is leaking or
was not sealed airtight, has been stored longer than six months, has an unusual odor, or you have
other concerns about its safety. Boiling is the preferred method to disinfect water. If you have
no power, use a camp stove to disinfect water by boiling it for at least two minutes after it
reaches a vigorous rolling boil. If boiling is not possible, add a measured ¼ teaspoon or 16 drops
of bleach to each gallon of water and then let it stand for 30 minutes. A slight chlorine taste and
smell is normal.
RESERVE STORED WATER FOR DRINKING AND FOOD PREPARATION.
Depending on the severity of damage following a quake, it may be difficult for public agencies to
get emergency water supply distribution locations up and running quickly. Avoid using your
personal emergency drinking water supply for washing and cleaning. If you run out of stored
drinking water, you can strain and treat water from your water heater. To strain, pour the water
through a clean cloth or layers of paper towels. Then disinfect the water as described above.
Consider using wa ter from the toilet tank (not the bowl, and do not use water from the tank if it
has a blue dye or other cleaner) or perhaps a pool or other outdoor water source for washing and
BE PREPARED WITH A SANITATION KIT FOR AN OUTAGE THAT COULD PREVENT TOILETS FROM FLUSHING.
Your kit should include toilet paper, wipes and hand sanitizers, plastic garbage bags, a bucket,
and a deodorizing chemical such as lime, bleach, or chemicals sold for camping.
BE READY FOR ACTION.
Know your utilities and who to call. Other water emergencies may include open hydrants, main
breaks, or additional water or sewer related crises. If you are experiencing a water emergency,
please contact our 24-hour on call Operator at 707-987-9201
HVLCSD continuously works to protect public health and safety by strengthening facilities and
practicing strategies for a quick response and recovery. A major disaster can temporarily disrupt
water and sewer services. You could experience a variety of hazards ranging from the most severe -
a major regional earthquake - to localized outages, floods or wildfires.
For more information about emergency preparedness, go to www.redcross.org/prepare or www.ready.gov.