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How some Md. families coped with power outages

Wednesday - 8/31/2011, 5:20pm  ET

Chesapeake Beach brought in 16 portable restrooms for residents to use while power was out in Richfield Station. (WTOP Photo/Michelle Basch)
Michelle Basch,

CHESAPEAKE BEACH, Md. - Some southern Maryland residents were forced to think outside the box while they were without power and sanitary facilities for almost five days due to Hurricane Irene.

Some residents of the Richfield Station development in Chesapeake Beach rely on pumps to move waste water to uphill sewer pipes. When power went out Saturday, those people could no longer use toilets or showers.

One family, The Bennetts, decided to get creative with their cooking.

"We made spaghetti on the grill," says 11-year-old Margaret Bennett, explaining how they boiled the pots on the grill top.

"We can run water, but we cannot let it go down the drain," says Margaret's father, Robert Bennett.

The town brought in 16 portable restrooms for people like the Bennetts, leaving bright yellow port-o-potties in the middle of perfectly manicured lawns, as well as the middle of a cul-de-sac.

"My parents who live in Rehoboth Beach lost power for a whopping three hours (after the storm), and they're laughing at me because I offered my home to them," says Robert Bennett.

Power has since been restored to most if not all residents of the Richfield Station neighborhood, and the portable toilets are being taken away.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)