Disaster Water-Sanitation Classes Set

Depiction of homemade water filter

When the giant earthquake (Cascadia Subduction Zone “Big One”) happens along the Oregon coast, disaster planners expect it will damage or destroy water and sewer lines, knocking them out of service for months. No water will flow from taps, flush toilets will be useless, and when rains come raw sewage will rise to the surface.

To cope with this disaster, each household will have to find and haul its own water, filter or disinfect to make it safe to drink, and dispose of the urine and feces people will produce. People will also need to practice effective handwashing to avoid spreading disease.

The Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay has developed a class on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) safety in disaster situations and is offering it to the public. The class was prepared in partnership with the Tillamook County Health Department and the Nehalem Bay Wastewater Agency.

The three-hour course, known as “WaSH in a Disaster,” is held on selected Saturdays, starting at 10 a.m., and some Wednesdays or Thursdays at 6 p.m., at the former Manzanita Fire Station at 165 S. 5th Street. Sessions have been set for February, March and April. More will be scheduled as people apply.

Instructors will discuss necessary information, provide useful handouts, and distribute the specialized gear a household will need to be prepared for a disaster – even if it lasts for months.

Each class is limited to eight students, and advance registration is required. The training costs $99, which covers all the materials – ceramic water filter, granular chlorine, test strips, several five-gallon buckets, snap-on toilet seats, plus other supplies and materials.

Students will assemble and take home their own water filtration system and handwashing station. They will also learn how to find, disinfect, store and use water safely, assemble household and neighborhood containers to manage human waste, plus follow effective personal hygiene techniques.

Persons interested in taking the course can register online at or call 503-683-1365.