Thursday, February 22, 2024

Emergency Water


Well, it happened. After the windstorm took out the electricity; the light in the well house didn’t come back on when the electricity came back on line; the most vulnerable pipe on the place froze; no water for four days. Being Grandma’s daughter we had some cases of bottled water for drinking, a couple five gallon water jugs (designated for water when brand new) plus 20 half gallons of prepared water (see recipe below) so inflow water was alright but the outflow (sewage) was a worry since I didn’t want to use up my stored water for emergencies to flush toilets unless I had to (that’s a story for another day, but something to think about).

When it comes to plumbing, I am completely lost but that isn’t the case for Sonny. He saw what the issue was, turned off the breaker in the well house so the water would stop gushing; stepped out of the well house to grouse a bit as he wrapped his head around the problem then turned and asked me, “Do you have Grey’s phone number?” Grey’s is the local plumbing outfit.

“No, but I can get it.” I replied. He groused a bit more. “Sonny,” I said, “this is the cost of home ownership.” He quit grousing, stepped back into the well house took a closer look at the fractured pipe turned to me and said, “we need to go to town.” I nodded and headed to the house to get the car keys. By the time I returned he’d figured out what he needed, took a picture of the broken pipe, and had sawed a piece of PVC pipe (as a reference for pipe size) to take with him.

“Do we still need Grey’s number?” I asked.“I think I can fix it,” he told me and he did. When we returned, I turned off the breaker in the main house to the well house because with all the water flowing I wanted to make sure there was no current to cause harm.

I went out and I tried to help but I was simply in the way in the close quarters of the well house. Eventually he handed me a flashlight and told me to go see what was happening outside the well house door. I blinked, he nodded. “Yes mom, I can do better alone.” I shrugged, took the flashlight and headed out of the well house.

Sonny finished the job then let the purple PVC primer and PVC pipe cement cure overnight. Come morning he flipped the breaker in the well house to start the pump expecting water to flow again. It didn’t. The water didn’t flow because I’d turned off the well breaker at the main house breaker box. Sonny figured it out pretty fast, but it did slow him down a bit. I’m sure he groused under his breath about his over cautious mother. So now we have water again. Boy, am I glad we only lost water and still had electricity (that’s a story for another day, but something to think about).

Emergency Prepared Water or Chlorinated Water

(Like hay, this should be done when sun shines in early fall then changed out every 6 months)

½ or 1-gallon jugs

Eye dropper

Tap water

Basic liquid bleach with 6% sodium hypochlorite

NOT scented; NOT color safe; NOT with added cleaners.

Look under ‘active ingredient’ on the side of the jug it will say % sodium hypochlorite

To one gallon of tap water add 8 to 10 drops of basic liquid bleach. If using ½ gallon jugs add 4 to 5 drops of basic liquid bleach. Pour out and remix every 6 months. Because it is hard to tell what bleach has in it these days, I use this water for hand washing, doing dishes, and cleaning up. I keep one case of water per person in the house in case of emergency for drinking water and use my emergency prepared water for everything else.

Note: I use the best quality jugs I can reasonably get. I like plastic because it won’t break. Mine are ½ gallon clear used juice jugs rinsed three times with boiling water swished all around the inside surfaces of the jug immediately after they are emptied then turned upside down to drain overnight.

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and also in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.



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