The Basics of Plumbing

Plumbing involves the distribution and use of water and the removal and disposal of waste. With it, we can avoid unsanitary conditions and serious health risks.

When fresh water enters your home, it travels through several supply pipes until it reaches your faucets and toilets. When something goes wrong with these systems, it can cause major disruptions to your daily life. Visit Website to learn more.


Septic systems provide waste treatment for households that aren’t connected to the public sewer system. The system consists of a septic tank and soil drain field (also called a leach field). When a house is connected to a septic tank, sewage from toilets and sinks flows into the tank through pipes. The solid waste sinks to the bottom while the liquid waste floats on top. Bacteria in the tank digests the solids and converts them into water and gas. The gases, which smell like rotten eggs, are vented to the outside air.

After the septic tank processes the wastewater, it enters the drain field. The drain field contains a series of perforated pipes that allow the wastewater to seep into the ground. The drain field and surrounding soil act as biological filters that purify the wastewater. Microbes in the soil finish the treatment process by absorbing bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. The wastewater eventually makes its way into the groundwater supply.

Conventional septic systems are the most common type of septic system. They include a septic tank that collects and separates solids from liquids, and a drain field that treats the remaining wastewater. A conventional septic system is most suitable for properties with well-draining soil conditions. If your home’s soil is poor, a different type of septic system may be needed.

Alternative septic systems, such as chamber septic systems, use a system of plastic chambers to treat wastewater. The drainfield beneath the chambers includes a network of underground perforated pipes and gravel that acts as a filter. The chamber septic system includes a septic tank with a distribution box that redirects the wastewater into one or more of the chambers. Each chamber has numerous small holes through which the wastewater passes. The wastewater is treated by microbes in the soil in the drainfield.

A septic system is a viable option for homes located in rural areas, where the infrastructure for a municipal sewer system isn’t available. However, a septic system can present problems if it isn’t properly maintained. For example, if a homeowner installs a garbage disposal or a hot tub in their house, these appliances can increase the amount of solid waste that accumulates in the septic tank and absorption field. This can lead to a clogged septic tank and a damaged or contaminated leach field.

In some cases, the terrain in a city’s sewer system is too flat or full of obstacles to allow gravity to convey wastewater. In these situations, conducting the flow with pressurized force mains could be the best solution. A force main is a pumping station fitted with pumps that help lift wastewater to a higher elevation where it can continue on its journey or discharge into another gravity sewer depending on the landscape.

Often, the pipes in force mains are lined with an epoxy coating to protect them from the corrosive nature of the sewage that flows through them. They are also designed to withstand the constant pressure of sewage that is being pumped through them, along with the frequent start and stop of the pumps themselves.

Like their gravity sewer brethren, force mains can be subject to the same problems as other pipelines in a city’s sewer system, including clogs, breaks and leaks. They also must be regularly inspected to ensure that they are still functioning properly and to mitigate any risks of failures.

When public works departments are planning renovations or expansions to a city’s sewer system, they typically perform tests on the force mains in order to determine their capacity to handle new flow rates and to make sure that the lines can support the anticipated loads. These test results are then used to create a plan for how the force mains will be rehabilitated or replaced.

While force mains only represent a small fraction of most wastewater pipes, they are critical to the overall functionality of the system and can have significant social, environmental and financial impacts when they fail. Today, identifying and addressing problem areas in a city’s sewer force mains is easier and more cost-effective than ever before.

Unlike gravity sewers, which are easily accessible through manholes at regular intervals, sewer force mains can be difficult to inspect for damage. Since they are filled with sewage at all times, it’s not feasible to take them out of service for a visual inspection, and grease and sludge buildup can obscure evidence of a problem. Fortunately, there are trenchless technologies that can be used to quickly and accurately assess the condition of a sewer force main without removing it from service.

Valves are essential components of piping systems that convey liquids, gases, vapors and slurries. They direct, control and regulate the flow of fluids and prevent backflow. They are found in a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications from wastewater treatment plants to automobile production. Valves are also a critical component to ensuring the safety of the people who use a system by allowing them to shut off water access and isolate areas when necessary.

There are a number of different types of valves and they differ in the way they open and close, as well as their mechanical design, which can impact performance and safety. Stainless steel valves offer excellent durability in a wide range of processing environments and can handle a variety of conditions, including those that involve corrosive liquids and harsh chemical compositions.

A basic valve is composed of a body and bonnet. The body is the outer casing that houses most or all of the internal trim parts and seals the stem (the part that extends into the piping to operate). The bonnet, or cover, screws into the valve body.

Valve connections vary from simple threaded ports to more complex designs that utilize a variety of connection methods, such as flanges or welding. The threads on the end of a pipe valve are designed to fit the standard threads on the associated pipes, which helps to ensure a secure and streamlined connection.

In addition to the type of valve, other considerations include the pressure and temperature ratings that are specified by manufacturers. These ratings indicate the maximum allowable levels of pressure and temperature that a valve can safely be subjected to when it is functioning properly.

Valves come in a wide variety of configurations and are often classified according to the function that they perform, fluid service conditions and characteristics, frequency of operation, isolation or regulation requirements, maintenance needs and desired level of safety and reliability.

A common type of valve is the ball valve, which is comprised of a perforated, hollow sphere that pivots on its center to either restrict or unrestrict the flow of fluid through the hole at one end of the spherical core. Other types of valves include plug, butterfly, check, diaphragm, relief, pinch and pressure relief.

The plumbing in a home with a septic system converges at the septic tank, which collects household wastewater from toilets and from bathtubs, showers, sinks, and laundry (grey water). It holds wastewater for a day or more to allow solid waste to separate from liquid. The tank is made of precast concrete or heavyweight plastic and comes in a variety of sizes.

Usually, septic tanks have two chambers separated by a partial wall. The top layer contains oils and fats that float, along with materials like toilet paper and small amounts of other waste particles. The bottom layer is a thick sludge that bacteria break down anaerobically. Water, dissolved waste and gases from this breakdown flow into the second chamber of the tank.

Liquid waste leaves the septic tank through a pipe, which is connected to a soil absorption field where microbes treat the effluent. The soil filtration system is buried just a few feet below ground level to keep wastewater away from people and pets. The soil also absorbs residual bacteria and particulates, making the resulting effluent clean enough to drink.

If a homeowner doesn’t maintain the septic tank and drain field, a bacterial imbalance may cause the septic tank to clog and/or overflow. This may contaminate nearby drinking wells and pollute local waters. Excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from septic systems can also cause harmful algal blooms that use up oxygen in waterbodies and harm fish and other aquatic life.

To prevent septic tank problems, have your septic system inspected and pumped regularly. Keep in mind that the type of septic system you have affects its maintenance schedule. A septic tank that is too full or overflowing with organic matter will need to be pumped more often than one that holds only liquid waste. Other signs that it’s time to have your septic tank pumped include a slow-draining toilet, water pools around the house, or sewer smells. In some areas, local laws require a septic inspection before you can buy a home. In these cases, you may need to hire a licensed inspector to check for a working septic tank and proper drainage.