The Story of Plumbing

Plumbing is the art and science of working with metals. Over time the quality of plumbing, and plumbing materials has evolved, changed, and improved. These improvements increase the quality of Life. Even though plumbing has a connection to metals, plumbing materials are not always metal. In the past plumbing was made of lead, copper, stone pipes (stones with holes), wooden pipes (red wood plank boxes, bricks, blocks of rock, and clay. They were used to form water way channels and pipes.

Plumbing can bless our lives in many ways, like saving us a trip to the river or lake for a drink or a bath, and save us from going to the out-house. We can take a hot shower, run the dishwasher, get ice from the ice maker, wash the clothes in the washing machine, and water our lawns and gardens.

In the past, and today in some parts of the world, unfit water can be a serious threat to people’s health. If clothes washing and bathing are taking place up-stream in a river everyone down stream can be affected by bitter taste, dirty water, disease, sickness, and bad health. The problem is worse today, there are a lot more people and a fixed amount of water. We have to properly dispose of our waste water, keeping it separated from our drinking water.

Sometimes the problem is what is inside the water, and sometimes the problem is the piping material that carries the water.
Plumbing materials can be dangerous.

The old but sage saying “buyer beware” is the best advise. There are links and information on this site to help you to become aware.

Some blame the downfall of the Roman Empire on plumbing, Lead (a heavy metal) can cause insanity and blindness. The Romans used lead pipes to supply their water, and the rest is history. Plumbers still have many problems to solve as populations increase.

The challenges and problems of plumbing are the same but more complex, how to keep the water "clean", and how to keep the waste water out of the clean drinking water, in a safe, effective, efficient manner, and at an economical price. Gold and silver would be the best of pipe materials, but they are very expensive. Copper pipe is becoming more expensive. Plastic and poly pipes cost less.

There are many pipe material choices. Some plumbing materials today can make you sick, insane, sterile, blind, and even bring on death. There are very serious debates raging about the use of Plastic pipes (PEX Kitec PVC CPVC Polys Plastic Epoxy). Even the plastic bottles we use to store water and other beverages have been shown to contribute to disease of the brain, heart and kidneys. Bottled water is often nothing more than city tap water that is stored and shipped in a plastic bottle. We all know not to drink out of a plastic garden hose. Now there are "improved hoses" being used to supply household water. When plastics burn they release a deadly poisonous gas called Dioxin.

Some of the arguments against the “plastic plumbing” are health concerns like "the molecular structure of the Plastic Resins are like pesticide and are carcinogens that leach into the water and water supply." Some of the quality concerns are that plastics become brittle with age. When a plastic pipe has a failure the pipe or joints usually blow apart and cause a costly flooding. Plastics do not stand up to sun light either.

It is recommended that a “water filtration” or “water purification” system be installed on every building or house. Aside from the fact that our water sources may have infiltration of pollution, is that the plumbing systems may contain lead and plastic. The problem is getting worse and growing. Most older water supply systems contain lead. If you have older plumbing pipes you should have it replaced even before your pipes leak or rust shut.

Waste water and sewer water can be a health hazard, and must be kept safely separated from rivers, lakes, streams, wells, the water table, and oceans. Waste water must be treated before it can be dumped in waterways. The sewer treatment process must meet minimal standards, but treated water is not safe to drink or to wash in. Reclaimed or treated water is used in various ways, there is a growing concern that reclaimed water is polluting most of our water tables and storage supplies with drugs and chemicals that are leaching in.

Some water districts reclaim sewer water and use that "treated" water, to irrigate parks, highways and golf courses. Never drink water from irrigation systems unless that water is "safe" and so labeled. Some water districts are "treating" us to reclaimed sewer water by introducing treated sewer water into our drinking water. This  "treated" water policy is not always made public. There are public assurances that this reclaimed sewer water is "safe" and will be properly treated with "safe” chemicals like fluoride and chlorine (two poisons). Plumbing is the most important service system in your home. Proper plumbing systems supply us with safe drinking water, water for preparing food, bathing, washing clothes, and washing other house hold items like dishes, eating utensils, pots, and pans.

Plumbing water also provides proper disposal of the waste water that we use. There are two types of wastewater; 1.) Black Water is water that usually contains bio-organic matter that comes from toilets, and from sinks that are used in food preparation like kitchen sinks. 2.) Grey Water is water that comes from bathroom sinks, tubs, showers, and laundry that contains minimal bio-organic matter.

When it comes to  plumbing, there are  two basic systems; supply and sewer drainage. It is extremely important that the two systems never directly connect to each other. If the two systems connect, or potentially connect, it is considered a "cross connection". Cross connections are very dangerous and the consequence of a cross connection can result in sickness and death. It is important that the drinking systems be properly separated from the sewer drain system.

There are strict plumbing rules and instructions for installing plumbing called "Codes." These plumbing codes protect us from unsafe plumbing situations and installations. Plumbing codes can be different from state to state, or from city to city, there can also be codes that are universal in application. Codes can also be multi-level based, on various issues; federal concerns, state issues, county requirement, city need, energy conservation, water table levels, streams, rivers, lakes, altitude, temperature, and soil conditions.

Plumbing systems include the following parts;

1. Water supply
2. Water drainage and sewer
3. Water heating and sometimes, home heating
4. Gas systems to supply gas for water heating, home heating, and cooking
5. Landscape water drainage around homes, decks, patios, and water areas

Plumbing water supply systems can also be considered public or private. A water well located on private property used by a person  that water supply would be considered a "private water" supply system. If the water were supplied by a local agency it would be considered a  "public water" supply system.

Water can come from various sources like rivers, lakes, streams, and wells. That water is held in storage until used, potable (drinkable) water is usually treated with filtration, ozone, or chlorine separately or in combination before it enters the house for use.