Stuff I Found

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Flushing at the Same Time

What would happen if everyone flushed the toilet at the same time? The result probably wouldn't be very pretty.

Since as far as we could find out -- no one's ever tried it before -- we can't say for certain exactly what would happen. But we can take a pretty good guess: "It would be ugly," says Steve Cox, one wastewater treatment facility operator we interviewed.

There would simply be too much wastewater trying to pass through the pipes at the same time -- kind of like trying to force an orange through a drinking straw -- and the flow of sewage would stop. Sewage already past the lift stations would return downhill, and as the lift stations flooded, the lines leading to them would back up.

Eventually this sewage would find its way to the place where this whole debacle originated -- your home. Backflow valves probably wouldn't help. Not only would your toilet overflow, but so, too, would every wastewater line in your home, including your shower, kitchen and bathroom sinks, and even your dishwasher and washing machine.


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