What Happens to Water That Goes Down the Drain?

Clean sink plughole

We often take water for granted – it appears and disappears as easily as turning on a tap. It may also be tempting to wash beauty products, medicine, and other chemicals down the drain too, for an easy disposal – but this approach can be harmful to lakes, rivers and other water bodies.  

To properly describe the impact these chemicals can have, it’s important to describe the journey that water takes from your drains, and into local waterways.

Where does the water go?

This answer may differ depending on where you live, but most 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 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

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.

As a trusted drainage specialist for thousands of homes and businesses across London, you can trust in Express Drainage Solutions for a fully comprehensive drainage service – no matter how complex the issue. Our qualified drainage experts can also offer emergency response for those more pressing issues, ensuring any problems aren’t left for too long. Contact us today to discover more.

Want more information?Contact us today on 020 8979 5444

EDS unblocked and repaired over 20,000 drains last year for the residents and businesses of London.

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Category: General News


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