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Sign this Y2K letter to President Clinton

Click here to skip to the actual letter

Click here to skip to the signing form


A note from the author:

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 07:37:33 EST
From: JGolter@aol.com
Subject: Open Letter to President Clinton -- Update

At present a little over 20 people have signed the letter. It has been
somewhat changed (improved) since the "final version" was sent out yesterday,
s please take another look at it.

The plan is to release the letter at a previously scheduled Y2K press
conference that will take place at 1:00 PM Thursday afternoon. In order to
have the materials ready by then, I will have to have all of the signers
names by this evening. So if you want to sign, please let me know right
away. If there are people who you believe would be interested in signing, but
whose names don't appear below, feel free to forward this to them with the
instructions that they contact me (JGolter@aol.com) with their name, title
(optional), affiliation, city and state right away.


If you want to sign, please let me know:

Your name (and title, if appropriate)
Your affiliation
Your City and state
also, let me know if you want an email address or URL included with your
name.

Finally, let me know which category you want to be listed under.
Categories will include: Information Technology Experts; Policy Analysts and
Educators; Emergency Management Experts; Y2K Community Activists; and Private
Citizens. If we recruit elected officials, or some other persons from a
specialized category, we can always add to this list.

Thanks for your assistance in getting this "last project of the century"
rolling.

-- Jay Golter, NOVA Y2K


The letter as of Tue, 14 Dec 1999 09:16:10 EST


Dear President Clinton:

We are information technology specialists, emergency management experts,
Y2K community organizers, policy analysts, educators and ordinary citizens
who are concerned about the likelihood of Y2K disruptions occurring during
the coming months. Many of us have worked with your Council on Year 2000
Conversion in the civic preparedness sector. Although only 15 days remain
before the rollover to the new year, it is still possible to use the powers
of your office to help the country better prepare for some of the problems it
will face soon, and in the months ahead, and to lay the groundwork for a
recovery period. Specifically, engaging yourself in this effort may be the
difference that leads to a phase-down, or the orderly shut down of some
dangerous facilities in communities around the country. In addition, you may
be able to reach millions of Americans with information about how to safely
store and treat drinking water, thereby converting potential local crises
into local inconveniences. Should you remain silent about these particular,
manageable threats, and the risks indeed become manifested in tragic
accidents and severe disruptions, it will be ever more difficult to rally the
public around your leadership in response and recovery efforts that would be
needed during the coming months. The stakes are great, and we believe that
your historical legacy will be greatly influenced by your leadership on this
issue.

On July 14, 1998, at an appearance before the National Academy of
Sciences, you correctly characterized Y2K as "clearly one of the most complex
management challenges in history." You ended your speech with the following,
passage: "But if we act properly, we won't look back on this as a headache,
sort of the last failed challenge of the 20th century. It will be the first
challenge of the 21st century successfully met. That is the American way,
and together we can do it." Together -- with your leadership -- we can still
address some of the most urgent aspects of this problem. Conversely, in the
absence of leadership, the nation, will drift into the next century only to
be caught by surprise by serious problems that are likely to occur.

Many Americans believe, incorrectly, that Y2K has been "solved." Indeed,
the statement you made on November 10, 1999, upon releasing the final
quarterly report on public and private efforts to remediate Y2K problems
included this sentence: "I am confident the Y2K problem, therefore, will not
put the savings or the safety of the American people at risk."
Unfortunately, there is every reason to believe that the safety of some
unknown number of Americans is very much at risk. Despite the fact that we
are only days away from rollover, there is little concrete information
available about the status of remediation efforts across nearly all sectors
of the economy. This alone is reason for deep concern. At minimum, it
allows for a wide range of potential Y2K scenarios to unfold. The one that
you described to the American public has to be among the most optimistic of
possibilities. However, bold assertions of wishful thinking are not an
adequate substitute for bold leadership in the face of numerous challenges.
Bold, assertive action on your part can, even in the short time remaining,
have a positive impact on the outcomes we experience. If such bold action is
not taken, and events turn out to be closer to the worst possible outcomes,
the nation will be left unprepared and disorganized. The public might become
distrustful of its government and of the institutions that would play a role
in restoring affected communities.

This letter focuses on two primary areas of concern -- matters that could
have a direct impact on the health and safety of the public. We are most
concerned about the readiness of facilities that handle hazardous materials,
including radioactive materials, and of utilities that provide the public
with clean water. 85 million Americans live within five miles of the 66,000
toxic materials processing facilities. In addition, the vast majority of
American citizens and businesses depend on water pumped to them by a local
utility. In both cases, there is reason to believe that many of the
facilities are not ready for Y2K. However, much could still be done to
reduce the potential harm that this lack of readiness poses to the public.

Three recently released studies highlight these risks. These studies were
released by:

~~ the Texas Engineering Experiment Station's (TEES) Mary Kay O'Connor
Process Safety Center headquarters at Texas A&M University (Texas A & M study)

~~ the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and

~~ the Center for Y2K and Society with the Natural Resources Defense
Council.

Respectively, these studies showed that:

1) Many small and mid-sized firms that handle hazardous chemicals are far
behind schedule in preparing for Y2K,

2) Some firms, of all types, have not thoroughly assessed or tested their
equipment and machinery that contains embedded computer systems, and

3) The readiness of local facilities across the nation that provide
drinking water or treat waste water is not fully known.

A common theme across these three reports is that there has been scant,
independent oversight of the Y2K remediation efforts of the myriad of
organizations upon which all Americans' health, safety and well being depend.
This means that we do not know which of these organizations has properly
discovered and repaired Y2K problems, and which ones will suffer from systems
failures. Nor do members of the public have the ability to determine this on
their own.

The Texas A & M Study

The Texas A & M study, "Y2K Readiness of Small and Medium-sized
Enterprises" (available on the Internet at
http://www.chemsafety.gov/y2k/docs/sme_chemrpt.pdf) was based on survey data
collected from July through August. It was released on October 21. The
study found that:

86.5 percent of firms surveyed were not currently prepared for Y2K.

85.6 percent had not coordinated emergency plans with local/community
officials. A majority had not linked contingency planning to community
emergency services such as police, fire and rescue, or hospitals.

79 percent said they had never before been surveyed about Y2K preparedness.

A majority of respondents do not belong to industry organizations or trade
associations, which have been the primary gatherers of Y2K preparedness
information in the private sector.

4.1 percent said Y2K presents "potential for a catastrophic event."

The NIST Study

The NIST Study, "Embedded Systems and the Year 2000 Problem" is available
on the Internet at http://www.nist.gov/y2k/embeddedarticle.htm. It was
released on November 22nd and includes the following passage, "Embedded
devices that do not apparently use dates in elapsed time calculations are
being ignored in some embedded systems testing. This is a major oversight in
the testing process." In other words, some organizations that believe that
all of their safety critical equipment is Y2K compliant may be relying on
faulty devices that passed an inadequate testing process. This report, given
the magnitude of the information contained within it, did not receive
adequate notice. It is unlikely that many of the organizations that
performed inadequate tests are even aware of the report and its relevance to
their operations.

The NIST Study also highlighted other areas of concern regarding embedded
systems that have not received adequate attention to date.

The Clean Water Study

The study, produced by the Center for Y2K and Society and the Natural
Resources Defense Council, "Y2K Risks in the Water Industry," is available
over the Internet at
http://www.y2kcenter.org/resources/centerpubs/Y2Kwater.pdf. This report
shows that water treatment facilities are exposed to a variety of Y2K-related
risks. However, there has been insufficient oversight and an absence of an
adequate reporting regime to enable adequate assessment of the overall
readiness of these critical infrastructure providers. Readiness surveys
conducted by appropriate trade associations had poor participation rates,
little verification of the reported status, and inaccurately reported results.

In the face of these clear and present dangers to the American public, it
is your duty to provide leadership. With so little time remaining before the
rollover events will occur, we urge you to immediately address the nation,
forthrightly, and to provide them with the information that will help our
citizens, families and communities prepare to deal with the potential
challenges ahead. In particular, all of the facilities that handle hazardous
materials need to be contacted by appropriate agencies of federal, state, and
local government, and assisted to do all they can to prevent and minimize
possible problems that could arise owing to Y2K-related problems. In the
case of those plants that have not performed adequate assessment and
remediation, the feasibility of safely shutting down during the rollover
period should be considered. If it is determined that those plants cannot be
safely shut down, contingency plans should be developed that involve the
local emergency response team, local hospitals, and any other locals entities
that would be affected. In addition, the workers and residents of the area
should be informed of the potential risks, and what they should do in the
event of an accident. Those facilities that choose to shutdown during the
rollover period should coordinate their restart schedules with each other and
the local officials and utilities in order to minimize the likelihood of any
one locality dealing with multiple simultaneous emergency events.

In order to minimize the consequence of any disruptions to local water
systems, you should inform the public of the proper methods of safely storing
water, and treating water that is not potable. This information is available
on the Internet from both the Red Cross and from FEMA. The Red Cross Web
site is at www.redcross.org and FEMA's site is at
http://www.fema.gov/pte/foodwtr.htm. FEMA recommends that, in preparing for
emergencies, individuals should be encouraged to store one gallon of drinking
water per family member per day for at least two weeks. Storing that much
water, while an inconvenience, is neither costly nor likely to cause any
economic disruptions. However, it may save lives.

In particular, you could help inform everybody about the important
information contained in the FEMA booklet, "Food and Water in an Emergency."
This information is appended to this letter.

A final, important, part of your message to the nation should be one of
community renewal and cooperation. Rather than providing people with a false
assurance that there will not be difficulties ahead, you should remind
everyone that whatever Y2K problems arise in each community will be solved as
we pull together, family to family, house to house, neighborhood to
neighborhood. During this holiday season, people should be reminded of the
value of reaching out to their neighbors. Furthermore, the value of helping
those less fortunate and less able to prepare for the oncoming events should
be emphasized.

Failure on your part to don the mantle of leadership that accrues to the
office of the President will leave the nation less prepared to deal with some
of the serious problems that may emerge. Furthermore, should worst case
scenarios unfold, and the public feels it was misled, we could experience an
unraveling of the social fabric. Alternatively, together, with your
leadership, we can face up to the challenges of this century, and the next.

Sincerely,

Information Technology Experts:

Dave Bettinger
Co-leader, Society for Information Management, International
Year 2000 Working Group
Colorado Springs, Colorado
dbettinger@netscape.net
(see also listing & comments at website: www.russkelly.com)

Alan Russell, Ph.D.
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Y2K Working Group
Zionsville, PA
ahrussell@aol.com
http://members.aol.com/ahrussell

Scott P. Overmyer, Ph.D.
Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA
http://faculty.cis.drexel.edu/~overmyer

Catherine Davis
U.S. Army
City/State - Hephzibah, GA
davisc@emh.gordon.army.mil
http://www.gordon.army.mil/y2k/

Susan A. Jackson
Winthrop, MA
susanajackson@hotmail.com

Policy Analysts and Educators:

Charles Perrow, Professor,
Yale University
Guilford, Ct.

Stuart Umpleby
Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
http://www.gwu.edu/~umpleby

Bud Hamilton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Management
Robinson College of Business
Georgia State University
Atlanta Georgia

Emergency Management Professionals:


Y2K Community Activists:

Michael S. Hyatt
Author of THE MILLENNIUM BUG and THE Y2K PERSONAL SURVIVAL GUIDE
Nashville, Tennessee

Karen Anderson, M.S.
Founder, Y2K Women
Franklin, TN
www.y2kwomen.com
Karen@y2kwomen.com

Jennifer Mueser Bunker
Governor's Coalition for Y2K Preparedness, State of Utah
Founder, Northern Utah Y2K Community Preparedness Group
Y2K Technical Support Engineer, Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Salt Lake City, Utah
Jen@bunkergroup.com

Jay Golter
Acting President
Northern Virginia Year 2000 Community Action Group
Springfield, VA
JGolter@aol.com

Rachel Windsong Chair
Humboldt County Y2K Preparedness Task Force
Eureka, Ca

Jan Nickerson
Developer, Y2K Connections
Wayland, MA
www.Y2KConnections.com

Norman Kurland, Moderator, Online Y2k discussion forum
Delmar, NY 12054
kurlandn@att.net

Nell Levin, Director
Nashville PREP 2000 (Promoting Responsible Emergency Preparedness)
Nashville, TN
nellrose@earthlink.net

Rev. David A. LeBeau
Monroe County Y2K Action Group
Bloomington, Indiana

Wayne Schumacher
Neighborhood Contingency Planning, Community Activist
Cygnus Emergency Response Triangles (www.CERTriangles.com)
Ashland, OR
wschumac@mind.net
Private Citizens:

Michael T. McKibben
Chairman & CEO
LEADER TECHNOLOGIES LLC
Columbus, Ohio
mmckibben@leader.com

Michael S. Robbins, President
Proprium Enterprises
mrobbins@proprium.com

Critt Jarvis
Wilmington, North Carolina
critt@critt.com

Barbara Blakely
Gainesville, VA

Click here to sign this letter.


Appendix -- Storing and Treating Water
Dear President Clinton:

We are information technology specialists, emergency management experts,
Y2K community organizers, policy analysts, educators and ordinary citizens
who are concerned about the likelihood of Y2K disruptions occurring during
the coming months. Many of us have worked with your Council on Year 2000
Conversion in the civic preparedness sector. Although only 15 days remain
before the rollover to the new year, it is still possible to use the powers
of your office to help the country better prepare for some of the problems it
will face soon, and in the months ahead, and to lay the groundwork for a
recovery period. Specifically, engaging yourself in this effort may be the
difference that leads to a phase-down, or the orderly shut down of some
dangerous facilities in communities around the country. In addition, you may
be able to reach millions of Americans with information about how to safely
store and treat drinking water, thereby converting potential local crises
into local inconveniences. Should you remain silent about these particular,
manageable threats, and the risks indeed become manifested in tragic
accidents and severe disruptions, it will be ever more difficult to rally the
public around your leadership in response and recovery efforts that would be
needed during the coming months. The stakes are great, and we believe that
your historical legacy will be greatly influenced by your leadership on this
issue.

On July 14, 1998, at an appearance before the National Academy of
Sciences, you correctly characterized Y2K as "clearly one of the most complex
management challenges in history." You ended your speech with the following,
passage: "But if we act properly, we won't look back on this as a headache,
sort of the last failed challenge of the 20th century. It will be the first
challenge of the 21st century successfully met. That is the American way,
and together we can do it." Together -- with your leadership -- we can still
address some of the most urgent aspects of this problem. Conversely, in the
absence of leadership, the nation, will drift into the next century only to
be caught by surprise by serious problems that are likely to occur.

Many Americans believe, incorrectly, that Y2K has been "solved." Indeed,
the statement you made on November 10, 1999, upon releasing the final
quarterly report on public and private efforts to remediate Y2K problems
included this sentence: "I am confident the Y2K problem, therefore, will not
put the savings or the safety of the American people at risk."
Unfortunately, there is every reason to believe that the safety of some
unknown number of Americans is very much at risk. Despite the fact that we
are only days away from rollover, there is little concrete information
available about the status of remediation efforts across nearly all sectors
of the economy. This alone is reason for deep concern. At minimum, it
allows for a wide range of potential Y2K scenarios to unfold. The one that
you described to the American public has to be among the most optimistic of
possibilities. However, bold assertions of wishful thinking are not an
adequate substitute for bold leadership in the face of numerous challenges.
Bold, assertive action on your part can, even in the short time remaining,
have a positive impact on the outcomes we experience. If such bold action is
not taken, and events turn out to be closer to the worst possible outcomes,
the nation will be left unprepared and disorganized. The public might become
distrustful of its government and of the institutions that would play a role
in restoring affected communities.

This letter focuses on two primary areas of concern -- matters that could
have a direct impact on the health and safety of the public. We are most
concerned about the readiness of facilities that handle hazardous materials,
including radioactive materials, and of utilities that provide the public
with clean water. 85 million Americans live within five miles of the 66,000
toxic materials processing facilities. In addition, the vast majority of
American citizens and businesses depend on water pumped to them by a local
utility. In both cases, there is reason to believe that many of the
facilities are not ready for Y2K. However, much could still be done to
reduce the potential harm that this lack of readiness poses to the public.

Three recently released studies highlight these risks. These studies were
released by:

~~ the Texas Engineering Experiment Station's (TEES) Mary Kay O'Connor
Process Safety Center headquarters at Texas A&M University (Texas A & M study)

~~ the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and

~~ the Center for Y2K and Society with the Natural Resources Defense
Council.

Respectively, these studies showed that:

1) Many small and mid-sized firms that handle hazardous chemicals are far
behind schedule in preparing for Y2K,

2) Some firms, of all types, have not thoroughly assessed or tested their
equipment and machinery that contains embedded computer systems, and

3) The readiness of local facilities across the nation that provide
drinking water or treat waste water is not fully known.

A common theme across these three reports is that there has been scant,
independent oversight of the Y2K remediation efforts of the myriad of
organizations upon which all Americans' health, safety and well being depend.
This means that we do not know which of these organizations has properly
discovered and repaired Y2K problems, and which ones will suffer from systems
failures. Nor do members of the public have the ability to determine this on
their own.

The Texas A & M Study

The Texas A & M study, "Y2K Readiness of Small and Medium-sized
Enterprises" (available on the Internet at
http://www.chemsafety.gov/y2k/docs/sme_chemrpt.pdf) was based on survey data
collected from July through August. It was released on October 21. The
study found that:

86.5 percent of firms surveyed were not currently prepared for Y2K.

85.6 percent had not coordinated emergency plans with local/community
officials. A majority had not linked contingency planning to community
emergency services such as police, fire and rescue, or hospitals.

79 percent said they had never before been surveyed about Y2K preparedness.

A majority of respondents do not belong to industry organizations or trade
associations, which have been the primary gatherers of Y2K preparedness
information in the private sector.

4.1 percent said Y2K presents "potential for a catastrophic event."

The NIST Study

The NIST Study, "Embedded Systems and the Year 2000 Problem" is available
on the Internet at http://www.nist.gov/y2k/embeddedarticle.htm. It was
released on November 22nd and includes the following passage, "Embedded
devices that do not apparently use dates in elapsed time calculations are
being ignored in some embedded systems testing. This is a major oversight in
the testing process." In other words, some organizations that believe that
all of their safety critical equipment is Y2K compliant may be relying on
faulty devices that passed an inadequate testing process. This report, given
the magnitude of the information contained within it, did not receive
adequate notice. It is unlikely that many of the organizations that
performed inadequate tests are even aware of the report and its relevance to
their operations.

The NIST Study also highlighted other areas of concern regarding embedded
systems that have not received adequate attention to date.

The Clean Water Study

The study, produced by the Center for Y2K and Society and the Natural
Resources Defense Council, "Y2K Risks in the Water Industry," is available
over the Internet at
http://www.y2kcenter.org/resources/centerpubs/Y2Kwater.pdf. This report
shows that water treatment facilities are exposed to a variety of Y2K-related
risks. However, there has been insufficient oversight and an absence of an
adequate reporting regime to enable adequate assessment of the overall
readiness of these critical infrastructure providers. Readiness surveys
conducted by appropriate trade associations had poor participation rates,
little verification of the reported status, and inaccurately reported results.

In the face of these clear and present dangers to the American public, it
is your duty to provide leadership. With so little time remaining before the
rollover events will occur, we urge you to immediately address the nation,
forthrightly, and to provide them with the information that will help our
citizens, families and communities prepare to deal with the potential
challenges ahead. In particular, all of the facilities that handle hazardous
materials need to be contacted by appropriate agencies of federal, state, and
local government, and assisted to do all they can to prevent and minimize
possible problems that could arise owing to Y2K-related problems. In the
case of those plants that have not performed adequate assessment and
remediation, the feasibility of safely shutting down during the rollover
period should be considered. If it is determined that those plants cannot be
safely shut down, contingency plans should be developed that involve the
local emergency response team, local hospitals, and any other locals entities
that would be affected. In addition, the workers and residents of the area
should be informed of the potential risks, and what they should do in the
event of an accident. Those facilities that choose to shutdown during the
rollover period should coordinate their restart schedules with each other and
the local officials and utilities in order to minimize the likelihood of any
one locality dealing with multiple simultaneous emergency events.

In order to minimize the consequence of any disruptions to local water
systems, you should inform the public of the proper methods of safely storing
water, and treating water that is not potable. This information is available
on the Internet from both the Red Cross and from FEMA. The Red Cross Web
site is at www.redcross.org and FEMA's site is at
http://www.fema.gov/pte/foodwtr.htm. FEMA recommends that, in preparing for
emergencies, individuals should be encouraged to store one gallon of drinking
water per family member per day for at least two weeks. Storing that much
water, while an inconvenience, is neither costly nor likely to cause any
economic disruptions. However, it may save lives.

In particular, you could help inform everybody about the important
information contained in the FEMA booklet, "Food and Water in an Emergency."
This information is appended to this letter.

A final, important, part of your message to the nation should be one of
community renewal and cooperation. Rather than providing people with a false
assurance that there will not be difficulties ahead, you should remind
everyone that whatever Y2K problems arise in each community will be solved as
we pull together, family to family, house to house, neighborhood to
neighborhood. During this holiday season, people should be reminded of the
value of reaching out to their neighbors. Furthermore, the value of helping
those less fortunate and less able to prepare for the oncoming events should
be emphasized.

Failure on your part to don the mantle of leadership that accrues to the
office of the President will leave the nation less prepared to deal with some
of the serious problems that may emerge. Furthermore, should worst case
scenarios unfold, and the public feels it was misled, we could experience an
unraveling of the social fabric. Alternatively, together, with your
leadership, we can face up to the challenges of this century, and the next.

Sincerely,

Information Technology Experts:

Dave Bettinger
Co-leader, Society for Information Management, International
Year 2000 Working Group
Colorado Springs, Colorado
dbettinger@netscape.net
(see also listing & comments at website: www.russkelly.com)

Alan Russell, Ph.D.
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Y2K Working Group
Zionsville, PA
ahrussell@aol.com
http://members.aol.com/ahrussell

Scott P. Overmyer, Ph.D.
Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA
http://faculty.cis.drexel.edu/~overmyer

Catherine Davis
U.S. Army
City/State - Hephzibah, GA
davisc@emh.gordon.army.mil
http://www.gordon.army.mil/y2k/

Susan A. Jackson
Winthrop, MA
susanajackson@hotmail.com

Policy Analysts and Educators:

Charles Perrow, Professor,
Yale University
Guilford, Ct.

Stuart Umpleby
Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
http://www.gwu.edu/~umpleby

Bud Hamilton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Management
Robinson College of Business
Georgia State University
Atlanta Georgia

Emergency Management Professionals:


Y2K Community Activists:

Michael S. Hyatt
Author of THE MILLENNIUM BUG and THE Y2K PERSONAL SURVIVAL GUIDE
Nashville, Tennessee

Karen Anderson, M.S.
Founder, Y2K Women
Franklin, TN
www.y2kwomen.com
Karen@y2kwomen.com

Jennifer Mueser Bunker
Governor's Coalition for Y2K Preparedness, State of Utah
Founder, Northern Utah Y2K Community Preparedness Group
Y2K Technical Support Engineer, Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Salt Lake City, Utah
Jen@bunkergroup.com

Jay Golter
Acting President
Northern Virginia Year 2000 Community Action Group
Springfield, VA
JGolter@aol.com

Rachel Windsong Chair
Humboldt County Y2K Preparedness Task Force
Eureka, Ca

Jan Nickerson
Developer, Y2K Connections
Wayland, MA
www.Y2KConnections.com

Norman Kurland, Moderator, Online Y2k discussion forum
Delmar, NY 12054
kurlandn@att.net

Nell Levin, Director
Nashville PREP 2000 (Promoting Responsible Emergency Preparedness)
Nashville, TN
nellrose@earthlink.net

Rev. David A. LeBeau
Monroe County Y2K Action Group
Bloomington, Indiana

Wayne Schumacher
Neighborhood Contingency Planning, Community Activist
Cygnus Emergency Response Triangles (www.CERTriangles.com)
Ashland, OR
wschumac@mind.net
Private Citizens:

Michael T. McKibben
Chairman & CEO
LEADER TECHNOLOGIES LLC
Columbus, Ohio
mmckibben@leader.com

Michael S. Robbins, President
Proprium Enterprises
mrobbins@proprium.com

Critt Jarvis
Wilmington, North Carolina
critt@critt.com

Barbara Blakely
Gainesville, VA

Appendix -- Storing and Treating Water


The following is excerpted from the FEMA booklet, "Food and Water in an
Emergency," a document that can currently be found on FEMA's website at
http://www.fema.gov/pte/foodwtr.htm.

How to Store Water:

Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or
enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic
substances.

Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. You can also
purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums. Seal water containers tightly,
label them and store in a cool, dark place. Rotate water every six months.

Emergency Outdoor Water Sources:

If you need to find water outside your home, you can use these sources. Be
sure to purify the water according to the instructions listed below before
drinking it.

Rainwater

Streams, rivers and other moving bodies of water

Ponds and lakes

Natural springs

Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color. Use saltwater
only if you distill it first. You should not drink floodwater.

Three Ways to Purify Water:

In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can
contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and
hepatitis. You should purify all water of uncertain purity before using it
for drinking, food preparation or hygiene.

There are many ways to purify water. None is perfect. Often the best
solution is a combination of methods. Two easy purification methods are
outlined below. These measures will kill most microbes but will not remove
other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.
Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain
them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.

Boiling

Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. Bring water to a rolling
boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the
water cool before drinking.

Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring
the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve
the taste of stored water.

Disinfection

You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only
regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium
hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches
with added cleaners.

Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30
minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage
and let stand another 15 minutes.

The only agent used to purify water should be household liquid bleach.
Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping
or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the
only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.

While the two methods described above will kill most microbes in water,
distillation will remove microbes that resist these methods, and heavy
metals, salts and most other chemicals.
Distillation

Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that
condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt and other
impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the
handle on the pot's lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid
is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil
the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is
distilled.



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