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Ken's Plumbing | Blog

Where Does My Water Go When it Drains?

Posted by Ken Flournoy on Jan 27, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Where does water go when it drainsHave you ever been minding your own business in the shower and then all of a sudden you find yourself wondering, "Hey, where is all this water going? Is this the same water I drink? How do they get the soap out?" We've previously touched on where your water comes from, but we've not yet discussed where it goes once it swirls down the drain...


  • If you're connected to a sewer system, your water is moving through a network of pipes that increase in size the closer they get to the wastewater treatment plant. You see, every drain in your home is connected to a pipe that moves used water from your house to a sewer in the street; that's right, every toilet, shower, sink, washing machine, dishwasher, and anything else that uses water connects to one singular pipe. This is true for every home around you as well, and every home's pipe then connects to another, larger pipe which collects water from other streets, then another that connects neighborhoods. The system continues until the water finally makes it to the wastewater treatment plant — but more on that in a minute.
  • If you are not connected to a sewer system, your water drains into a septic tank. In the tank most of the solids settle out while the liquid water will go on to flow through underground pipes that have holes drilled into them; those holes allow the water to seep out and into the ground. This particular system of pipes is called a leach field. 

The Magic of Wastewater Treatment

If your water took the sewer system route, it made it's way to a wastewater treatment plant
  • First, the wastewater that you washed down your drains will go though a the primary treatment process, which aims to remove all large particles and debris.
  • Then, for secondary treatment process, organic matter is removed with bacteria that break down pollutants before the water is disinfected with chlorine to remove the bacteria.
  • Finally, in some cases, the water goes through one last advanced treatment process to get rid of any remaining pollutants that could go on to cause problems in the area. For example, if there are large amounts of nitrogen or phosphorus in the treated water that would be detrimental to the bodies of water it would be added to, they'd be taken out.

What Happens After the Water is Treated?

So your water flows through all kinds of pipes to the wastewater treatment plant where it is treated, cleaned, and made safe to be reentered into the environment and local bodies of water (rivers, lakes, etc.).  The treated water could go on to become drinking water, it may be used to irrigate crops, it could help sustain aquatic life, and it can even end up back in your shower where we started.

We treat your drains with the same care we’d take with our own. That’s why we’re The Picky People's Plumber. We offer a drain service guarantee that your water lines won’t stop up after a visit from us for at least 5 years, 5 months, and 5 days (it's called our Tri-5 Program)! If you're having trouble with your drains and are looking for help, give us a call at Ken’s Plumbing! You can reach us by phone anytime at (864) 242-5511 or can contact us online to schedule service.

Schedule Drain Service Today!


Topics: Water