Are You Ready for the Hurricane Season?
In preparation for the Hurricane Season it is ALWAYS advisable to have water stored in case you are affected by a water outage. To ensure your household has a safe and adequate water supply during and after natural disasters, take these precautions:
- Store enough drinking water for each family member and pet.
- Store in clean, non-corrosive, tightly covered containers.
- Store containers in a cool, dark location.
- Collect water in bathtubs for non-drinking uses.
Protecting the water infrastructure on your property
As soon as landfall is imminent or evacuation notices are issued during a hurricane warning, you can further protect the water supply going into your home and minimize property damage by following the guidelines shown below:
How to protect your water heater
- Turn off your water at the meter.
- Switch off the electrical circuit breakers
How to turn off your water meter
Your water can be shut off at the ball valve near the water meter. Everyone in your home should know where this is located. The valve (two brass ears with holes at the ends, normally in an L-shape) is usually under the water meter outside the house.
It will be in line with your water meter, which is normally located near the edge of your property line or near the street. Even if the water supply becomes contaminated and is not safe to drink, the valve can be operated to provide water, if available, for sanitary purposes only.
How to find water for non-potable uses
- Fill up the bathtub.
- Use the water contained in the tank of the hot water heater.
How to purify water
During and after a hurricane, the water supply to your home may become contaminated and unfit to drink. Should the water have become unsafe to drink due to infiltration of contaminants via broken pipes, a “Boil Water” notice will be issued by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Barbados Water Authority after a storm. If this occurs, you will want to have a safe and adequate drinking water supply in your home until service can be restored.
To do this, you will need to purify the water by using one of three methods:
- Using Hypochlorite Bleach
- Using Purification Tablets
Boil vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes and let cool. You can add a pinch of salt, or pour back and forth between two containers to improve the taste.
Using Hypochlorite Bleach
- Liquid bleach from the home laundry or grocery store will work well. Do Not use a bleach that has a fragrance or scenting agent, like a lemon scent.
- Read the label to find the percentage of chlorine available. It should be 5.25%.
- Add 8 drops to a gallon of water and let stand at least 30 minutes. (1 teaspoon = approximately 100 drops.) If no dropper is available, use 1/8 teaspoon.
- If the water has a strong chlorine smell after 30 minutes, pour back and forth between two clean jugs or containers.
Using Purification Tablets
Purchase from a drug store and follow the directions given.
Storing purified water
- To keep drinking water safe from contamination, it should be stored in clean, non-corrosive, tightly covered containers.
- Prepare two quarts of water per day for each family member and any family pets.
- To increase shelf life of water, group bottles in dark plastic trash bags to keep light out. Store containers in a cool, dark location.
CAUTION: Make sure children do not mistake bottles containing hazardous substances with bottles used for drinking water.
Ensuring clear Sewer Lines
During and after a hurricane, the Authority’s sewerage system may become compromised. To ensure that there are no problems with the connection between your home and the Authority’s sewer lines after a natural disaster, take the following precautions in the pre-hurricane stage:
- Ensure that all drainage pipes/sewer lines are flowing freely by using a sewer snake, wire or hose to clear any blockages that might occur within the line.
- DO NOT dispose of any hand paper, sanitary napkins, towels, diapers, plastic bottles or bottles in any plumbing fixture or drain.
- Check and clean your grease-trap, removing and collecting any oil or grease collected in a bag for disposal as solid waste.
- Any difficulties being experienced while cleaning outside the property or its junction box should be referred to the BWA for attention.
Information compiled by the BWA’s Marketing/Communications Department