In a separate system, the flow of water will look very much like the illustration above. Our bathroom waste and water from our washing machines and dishwashers is taken away to be treated at a sewage treatment works by a foul drainage pipe.
Rain water is carried away into stormwater drains that eventually lead the water into a nearby river.
We have two main problems with a separate drainage system:
- Road run-off
- Bad plumbing
On its journey to the drain, the rain picks up the oils and heavy metals that come off of our cars. The lead, zinc, copper and aluminum from our cars is toxic to river wildlife . This can have detrimental effects on our rivers, as we witnessed in July 2013 on the River Lea in East London when thousands of fish were killed by road run off.
There is a risk that people are wrongly connecting hoses from washing machines or showers and sinks to a drainpipe.
The illustration below shows what happens when our pipes are wrongly connected.
Drainpipes are only meant to take rain as they lead straight to rivers. About 10% of homes across London have their waste water pipes connected to the drainpipe. These homes are polluting our rivers every time they put a wash on or pull the plug.
Plumbing misconnections are usually easy to fix and are the responsibility of the property owner. For more information on misconnected plumbing or to find an approved WaterSafe plumber, take a look at ConnectRight