Where does waste go when you flush the toilet? Many people will tell you that the toilet’s flushed water and human waste go to the ocean. But is this true?
If you have been thinking about it or your children have been asking how their poo and wee disappear after flushing, you are in the right place because we will answer the big question in this article. So, Where Does The Waste Go When You Flush The Toilet?
When you flush the toilet, the waste flows a sewer pipe. The sewer pipe flows to huge pipes that transport sewage from your house and other homes to a treatment plant. The treated water is recycled or released to natural water bodies or the soil.
For your home’s drainage system to work effectively, you must be careful of the things you flush down the toilet. Plumbers and the sewage treatment center expect you to flush tissue and flushable wipes only because they dissolve in water.
Other items like toys, clothes, or paper towels accumulate on the sewer pipes, slows down the drainage system, and eventually lead to clogs that cause leakages along the system or sewage backup.
What’s more, even if these items do not block your drainage system, they clog the pumps and pipes of the treatment plant, leading to sewage back up in homes and the environment, leading to land and water pollution.
Toilet Water Journey Inside The House
Wastewater takes a journey from the toilet to the sewage treatment center. Below is the part of the journey that takes place indoors. Read on:
1. Toilet Tank Refill
Once the toilet tank is empty, the refill valve opens to allow water to come in; a float is raised to stop water from flowing once the tank fills up. Depending on the pressure of the water supply, the tank should refill in about a minute.
2. The Flush
There are two types of toilet flush systems. The first design uses a level to push the water down. The second is the dual flush system with two buttons that flush different amounts of water for poo and wee.
With the help of gravity and the design of the flushing system, water in the tank is pushed down into the toilet bowl, which pushes the waste through a trap to the sewage pipes. The flushing process takes about 15 seconds for many toilets.
3. The Trap
The trap is the pipe that carries the wastewater from the toilet bowl to the main sewage pipe. After flushing, water remains in the curved part of the trap to prevent odors from spreading in the bathroom.
4. The Drain
The drain comprises pipes that transfer water from different parts of the house to the main drainage system. The toilet water combines with water from other parts of the house and other homes in your area to a gigantic sewage pipe that directs the sewage to a treatment plant.
Why Does Sewage Need To Be Treated?
Treating sewage helps remove germs, and other items like toys, wipes, or rags flushed into the sewage pipes.
Many years ago, sewage was dumped on the environment directly from the sewage pipes. This caused high pollution, and people’s health was compromised because they were exposed to the germs in the sewage.
What’s more, if untreated sewage finds itself in water bodies, it leads to water pollution, posing a health risk to aquatic animals and people.
Sewage treatment is a simple process and should take a couple of days. Still, it becomes complicated and lengthy because they have to remove the other flushed items before treating the wastewater.
People with houses far away from the municipal treatment plants should construct a septic tank, where the wastewater is collected, treated, and absorbed in the soil.
The end goal of water treatment plants is to make it safe for the environment and especially the water bodies where it flows into.
Below are the stages of the water treatment process:
1. Flush The Toilet
The first stage of wastewater treatment happens when you flush the toilet, drain the sink or washing machine. The water follows the process explained in subheading two above until it gets into the treatment center tanks.
2. Odor Control
Considering that the wastewater bears a lot of dirt, it comes in with an awful smell. Therefore, when it reaches the treatment center, they use chemicals or deodorizing misting systems to remove the odor before the treatment process.
The pre-treatment stage is also referred to as the screening stage. This stage entails sieving out large items like toys, rags, and wet wipes from the water. Every solid item must be removed at this stage; otherwise, they will clog the treatment center pipes or damage the equipment.
4. Primary Treatment
The primary separation stage involves separating water and sludge. Sludge comprises human waste, food waste, and any other solid waste not sieved during screening.
To achieve the separation, water is moved in circular tanks, where the sludge settles and water moves to the top.
Also, the circular tanks have scrappers at the base, which push the sludge at the center for easy removal. The sludge and other leftovers are taken to landfills.
At this stage, oxygen is introduced into the water and sludge to break down organic matter and bacteria to remove the bacteria and foul odors. At the end of this second treatment stage, the water is safe to be released into the rivers nearby or the ocean if the treatment center is near the ocean.
6. Sludge Removal
After aeration, the next step is to remove the sludge at the bottom of the containers with the help of scrappers. After the removal of the sludge, the water has only small amounts of contaminants.
7. Final Treatment
The last stage involves aeration and an oxygen-depleted process to reduce the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous in the water. Lastly, they add chlorine to the waters, which will be used for irrigation.
8. The Release
After the wastewater has undergone all the steps above, it is released either to natural water bodies or channeled to firms for irrigation. The water is now safe, and there is no worry that it will harm marine life.
Items You Should Never Flush Down The Toilet
You should not flush wrong items (as listed below) because they accumulate on the pipes with time leading to leakages or sewage backup.
It is essential to be careful about what you flush and not flush down the toilet drain. Flushing wrong things affect you, your neighbor, and the environment. To keep the drainage system clear and functioning as it should, flush the three Ps only, pee, poo, paper (tissue).
Below are some items you cannot flush:
- Cloth rags
- Wet wipes
- Small toys
- Any plastic
- Chunks of hair
- Dental floss
- Oils and fats
Benefits Of Treating Toilet Water
Toilet water treatment restores the water supply and protects the climate. Water is essential for life. Unfortunately, several parts of the world have been hit by drought and water shortage in the recent past.
For this reason, governments are encouraged to put water recycling and treatment plans in place because processed water is one way to curb water shortages.
Wastewater treatment is vital in the following ways:
1. Restores Water Supply
Communities must have proper water treatment processes to treat wastewater and use it for irrigation or return it to the natural water resources, where it will evaporate and come back as rain. This way, there will not be water wastage.
2. Protects The Climate
Wastewater contains chemicals and germs that are harmful to the environment. The germs in the contaminated water are detrimental to people, wild animals, plants, and aquatic animals.
When the wastewater is treated and released back to the environment, it supports the growth of plants and animals on both land and water and balances the ecosystem.
1. Where Does Poop Go When You Flush It?
The poo, pee, and tissue are flushed down the sewer pipe. Every house has a sewer pipe that collects water from the toilet, kitchen sink, and washing machines and transfers it to a bigger sewer pipe leading to a septic tank or a sewage treatment plant.
2. Does Toilet Water And Sink Water Go To The Same Place?
Yes, toilet water and sink water go to the same place. When wastewater from different parts of the house combines, it is called sewage. The sewage from your home flows through the sewer pipe to a waste treatment center.
3. Do We Drink Treated Toilet Water?
Treated toilet water can be reused but is not safe for drinking. It can be used for irrigation, released to the soil to mix with underground water, or released back into natural water bodies like rivers, seas, or oceans.
In Conclusion, So Where Does The Waste Go When You Flush The Toilet?
By now, I believe that you have answers to your question, where does waste go when you flush the toilet? It is treated and reintroduced into the soil, natural water bodies or used for irrigation without the risk of contamination.