Plumbing “misconnections” occur in various places around the house which can cause river pollution and contribute to flash flooding. However, my concern is focussed on washing machines and dishwashers. It surprised me, and may surprise you to learn that any one of us could be inadvertently contributing to damaging the environment.
If someone connects, or has previously connected any part of our plumbing incorrectly we could be part of an environmental problem. You may not know about it unless you check (there are instructions on how to check later). This could have happened before you moved in but unfortunately it’s the present householder who is responsible for putting it right. The good news is it shouldn’t be too difficult in most cases.
What’s the problem?
There are two distinctly different drainage systems available to most households for unwanted water to discharge into. One is situated at the bottom of the fall pipes from our guttering which runs untreated into rivers, and the other is connected to the main sewerage system and treatment plants.
They have different jobs, and must not be mixed up. Unfortunately, many thousands of houses do have these systems mixed up and this is called a misconnection.
Why does it matter?
If washing machines, dishwashers, sinks, baths or toilets are connected to the wrong system then harmful chemicals and waste products end up polluting local rivers and streams. It’s also illegal. If rainwater from the guttering is misconnected to the sewerage system it can contribute to overloading the system in heavy rain causing flooding.
It’s obvious when you think about it, but you may (like myself) have just not had cause to think about it before
Until I was recently contacted by someone working on behalf of the water authorities who are trying to get this message across to us all I had never thought about the fact that there are two separate water drainage systems at our homes. I would never have realised that my own washing machine was misconnected.