Where does the Water go when you Flush the Toilet?

Where does the water go when you flush the toilet is a question most people have probably thought of once or twice in their life but never really investigated where it actually goes. Most people have an understanding that the water swirls around in their toilet bowl after being flushed and then drops out of the bottom of the toilet and flows down the plumbing stack in their home.

After that most don’t have a clue where that dirty water went. If you have a septic tank that you have to get emptied when full then you know where the water goes when you flush. Here is the quick and easy lesson if you don’t have a septic tank.

The proper name for the water you flush is wastewater. When the wastewater leaves your toilet it enters the plumbing stack and then flows out to the sewer system outside under your street. From the street the wastewater eventually makes its way to a water treatment plant. At the water treatment plant the water first flows through a screen of some sort, it might be a bar screen or a honey comb screen to filter out any large pieces of garbage and debris like cans, wood, shoes, teddy bears or anything that made its way into the sewer system. The water will then be held in a holding tank to give any debris that got through the screening a chance to settle on the bottom.

After flowing through the preliminary or first phase of cleaning, the water then enters the biological cleaning tanks where smaller bits and particles are cleaned out of the water. Oxygen might be added to this stage so that micro-organisms will grow and start eating smaller pieces of organic compounds. Most of the compounds will fall to the bottom of the tank and then the water is then forced into the third and usually the final stage of cleaning where chlorine is used to disinfect the water by killing pathogens.

Once the water has been through all of the water treatment plants stages it will then be forced out into a lake or river. The solids that got filtered out usually get sent to a landfill or possibly used as a fertilizer depending on your treatment plants capabilities. So now you have a better idea of where toilet waste goes after you flush the toilet. Next party you are at and someone asks the question, where does the water go when you flush the toilet and guess who will have the answer?