There are always two sets of drains on any domestic or commercial property in Australia. One is the sewer drain and the other the storm water drains. To the plumbers out there this is pretty common knowledge however some clarification is needed as many people become confused as to what flows where and how.
I completely understand this as many people are just happy to flush the toilet and have whatever it is they ate or drank yesterday disappear forever without a second thought. But I am here to educate and pass on my vast knowledge of the average plumber.
Your sewer drain system starts from your plumbing fixtures within your house drains or property, this includes toilets, kitchen sinks, shower drains and floor drains. For example, the toilet flushes the waste down the sewer pipe. The sewer pipe from your house also collects and removes other waste such as soapy water from baths and showers, or water left over from washing dishes and clothes. Together, all of this waste is called “sewage”.
The pipes they travel through are called “sewerage pipes or sewer drains”. Using gravity the waste from your house drain flows downhill through a sloped pipe, just like the saying “S%#! flows downhill” Once your waste or sewer has reached the boundary of your property it then flows into larger council mains. These bigger sewer pipes or mains take all the sewage to a place where it is treated.
This place is called a sewage treatment plant. All towns and cities have these. They are like a big factory where any harmful materials are removed. The sewage is cleaned in the treatment plant. Then the treated water is released into a local river or even the ocean. If you live near the coast your treated sewage probably goes into the ocean. Some treated sewage can be used to make energy or recycled to make water that can be used in factories or farms.
Storm Water Drains
Storm water is the water draining off a site from rain that falls on the roof and land and everything that carries with it which minimises the impact of flooding by safely carrying the water away from the built-up areas into rivers, creeks and catchment areas like lakes. This is why it’s essential that we are really careful of what also goes into our storm water drains, things like fertilisers, toxins, and rubbish like plastics and cigarette butts, as all of these can potentially flow into our waterways and oceans.
Most of us are aware of how much plastic and contaminants are currently in our waterways and it’s our obligation as humans to ensure that we stop polluting these waterways, and monitoring what goes into your storm water drains is a fantastic place to start.
Your storm water drains much like your sewer drains, start at your house with fixtures like downpipes, sumps and ground drains, they then flow through the pipes and either to the street kerb or into a storm water main. These storm water mains then carry the water to the rivers, creeks, catchment areas and the ocean directly. Be wise , and start monitoring the amount of rubbish on the streets and realise that this can potentially flow directly to our beautiful waterways.