Do you ever stop to consider what happens when you flush a toilet, take a shower, or wash the dishes?
The wastewater flows down the drain and out of your home, but what happens to it then?
Modern plumbing consists of a complex series of pipes, lifts, and treatment plants, but what is the significance of all this? Is it really that important to properly dispose of and deal with sewage?
To answer this question, let’s consider what could happen if sewage seeped into ground water.
If sewage seeped into ground water, one of the most obvious affects would be the contamination of drinking water sources. Wastewater is full of coliform bacteria like E.coli. We are all aware of how sick that can make you. So, if sewage did infect ground water, our drinking water (and the water animals drink) would potentially be polluted by harmful, even deadly bacteria.
Wastewater also contains nitrogen and phosphates.
These elements serve as a type of fertilizer. If ground water were contaminated by wastewater carrying these elements, it would serve as a rich feeding ground for algae. Excessive algae growth can drastically reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the water and over time foul up the water.
Wastewater contains materials that require oxygen for decomposition.
If these materials were to reach groundwater or a lake let’s say, they would rob the water of much of its oxygen. The less oxygen available, the less friendly the environment becomes for local fish. Eventually, the contamination would cause the fish to suffocate.
Of course, one other obvious negative related to sewage contaminating a water source is the smell. Decomposition stinks, and the decomposition of wastewater is no exception.
So, when you flush your toilet or wash your dishes next, consider all the hazards modern plumbing protects us from. Be sure to do your part by maintaining your part of our sewer system.
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