What Happens After You Flush

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to answer it. Water waste doesn’t magically disappear just because you’ve drained a bath or flushed the toilet. Instead, it goes on quite a journey that, while it may not be clean, is a technological marvel.

So let’s start at the beginning. You’ve flushed a toilet, and watched the water swirl and get sucked down the U-bend. That’s when the waste is transported to a pipe that is connected to all the other houses in the vicinity, and from there, the accumulated waste is taken to another pipe that serves your entire neighbourhood. This pipe, commonly known as a trunk sewer, is also where rain and other street debris goes once it’s slipped down a storm drain.

And then it’s off to the treatment plant with it. The primary treatment involves letting any solid debris like plastics and wood settle before removing it and hauling it off to a landfill. Meanwhile, heavy organic sludge is generally pumped out into the ocean, while the rest of the wastewater, complete with the lighter scum, courses through the system and onto the second stage of treatment.

This second stage involves being pumped through a tank filled with bacteria known as ‘floc’, which thrive and multiply on the organic materials deposited. It’s the circle of life in action, and the bacteria is recycled again and again for this function. That’s when we reach the third stage, as the water is treated with chemicals like chlorine which kills off any harmful bacteria and eases the prevalence of the ‘floc’.

Finally, the water is filtered through sand and charcoal. Only then can it be considered clean enough to re-enter the water supply – fit for you to drink, or bathe in, or flush down the lavatory. Then the whole cycle starts again.

Well, that’s what should happen. But if you’re having problems with blocked drains Nottingham residents sometimes suffer from, you can contact us on 0115 8226086 or 07967 029298 and our drain specialists will get your waters flowing again.

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