What Happens to Water When it Goes Down the Drain? | EDS

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Where does the water go when it goes down the drain?

This answer may differ depending on where you live, but most water drains are connected to a sewer system. Generally, the water will go on a journey not too dissimilar to the following:

  1. All taps and toilets have a pipe attached to them that leads the water away. Water (and any harmful chemicals within it) are washed down the drains via our home sinks The gravity makes water able to accelerate past the P-trap (the part of the pipe that stops drain gases from reemerging into your sink or toilet bowl)
  2. Water continues to travel down your home’s various drainpipes, which then connect together. Your home’s main water drain pipe may then join the main sewer line for your street or residential area – this will then join other pipes from other streets to create an even larger pipe, and so forth
  3. Gravity will direct the water where it needs to go, in most cases. Occasionally the water will need to be pumped where terrain is uneven or on an upward incline
  4. Wastewater then reaches a local wastewater treatment plant. Here, it undergoes a pre-treatment process. The first stage is removing large items from the water, and solids are allowed to ‘flocculate’ or settle out of the water to become sludge
  5. The water that remains will undergo aeration to remove any bad gases and introduce oxygen, and the bacteria will begin digesting any remaining solids
  6. This water is then eventually discharged by the plant to lakes and other water bodies
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How to protect natural water sources

  • Dispose of hazardous waste responsibly, such as chemicals, beauty products, paints and other chemicals. Wastewater plants are simply not designed to handle hazardous waste, and remnants of these chemicals may therefore remain when the water reaches any natural water bodies – causing environmental damage
  • Be cautious with how much cooking oil, fat and lard is entering your drainage system. Over time, this may cause backups and blockages in your home drainage system
  • Sanitary towels, nappies, and wet wipes are an absolute no-no. Flushing these down the toilet is risking a major blockage of your pipe system

Remember – whatever you send down your drainage system has an effect on your home drainage system, natural water bodies and coastal waters, so act responsibly.

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