Chapter 1: Introduction of Plumbing

History of plumbing

Plumbing originate from Latin word plumbum, which means lead. Plumbing can be defined as a system used in buildings to distribute water and gas and also for disposal of sewage with the help of pipes and fixtures. The word sewage came from the French word essouier, which means to drain. We are surrounded by plumbing everywhere maybe it in our schools, houses, streets, fields, oceans, industries and so on. But from where the practice of plumbing actually start chronologically?

There are evidence of plumbing practice by ancient civilizations like Indus valley ,Greek, Roman, Chinese and Persians. Archaeologists discovered the first water pipes made of stones and other materials in the Indus River in India, dating back to 4000-3000 B.C. Similarly, around 2500 B.C. Harappan civilization start using sitting toilets, public and private bathrooms, elaborate underground waste-water drainage systems and water supply systems. Egyptians started using copper pipes for irrigation and home uses. Romans (500 B.C. - 455 A.D.) developed complex plumbing systems that encompasses aqueducts, underground sewers, public baths, lead and bronze pipelines, and marble fixtures.

In modern day, Sir John Harrington built a flush toilet for Queen Elizabeth I who was her Godson in 1596. However, the first patent for flushing toilet was issued to Alexander Cummings in 1775. In 1644 A.D., King Louis XIV of France ordered the construction of cast-iron as main plumbing line which was used along with other metals like copper until 1966. Due to shortage of metals after wartime, non-metallic and plastic pipelining starts to boom in plumbing. In 1804, Philadelphia of U.S.A became the first city to entirely use cast-iron pipes for their water supply systems. The English Regency shower with nozzle was introduced in 1810 A.D. .In 1829, the Tremont Hotel of Boston became the first hotel to have indoor plumbing with eight water closets. Likewise, Chicago adopted comprehensive sewage system in 1885 A.D.. Modern plumbing revolutionized after Thomas Crapper patented his valve-and-siphon design in 1891 A.D. .Toilet paper and brushes were invented by an American Joseph Gayetty and Addis Brush company in 1857 and 1930 respectively. Also, the elevated water tank and sensor-flushing toilets became available in 1910 and 1986 respectively. Finally, the World Plumbing Council (WPC) in 2000 was formed with aim to achieve the best possible plumbing for the world through growth and development of the world’s plumbing industries. However, there are plumbing standard according to the nations for different purposes like Floor and Trench Drains, Ceramic plumbing fixtures, enameled cast iron/steel plumbing fixtures, Roof, Deck and Balcony Drains and so on.

Importance of plumbing

As we know plumbing links application systems like a house with supply systems like a water reservoir and drainage system like a wastewater treatment plant separately. There are lots of benefits that makes it important to opt for plumbing which are discussed below:

  1. Plumbing ensures us safe delivery of water in our residents, fields and other places.

  2. Plumbing helps us to deliver water, oil and gases over long distance in short time. For example, Druzhba pipeline that transports oil across Europe.

  3. Plumbing industry has grown as a big economic importance since it provides job opportunities and livelihoods for many.

  4. Plumbing manufacturers working together with health organization can enhance human quality of life.

  5. Plumbing brings comfort and beauty into our houses and lives. For instance, private bathrooms, fountains, and kitchen serves their best purposes for our comfort, ease and beauty.

  6. Modern plumbing products comes along with sensors which helps us to save our energy and resources (gas, water etc.) both.

  7. Plumbing can be used to supply the water to the regions affected with natural calamities like earthquake and drought and regions with shortage of water.

  8. Plumbing helps to minimize the diseases with proper drainage systems. For example, All the sewage from homes, hospitals as well as street is properly channeled to sewage treatment plant without exposing the threat to public and environment.

  9. Plumbing are used extensively in industries and entertainment sectors like waterparks and swimming pools due to its safety and reliability.

Plumbing and sanitary

Plumbing can be related to any system that conveys liquids or gas from one location to another for various applications. A plumbing system is composed of two basic subsystems – Supply system and drainage system. One brings the useable stuffs like water while other throws out the unusable stuffs like wastewater. It uses basic laws of nature like gravity and pressure for its working.

1) Supply System

The water entering the home is under pressure which makes it easy to travel upstairs or significant height else we need to use motors for generating pressure. This system also includes a valve that stops the flow of water incase of plumbing emergency like leaks and reconstruction. This system supplies the water to bathroom, toilet, garden and water or gas to kitchen.

2) Drainage System

Drainage systems are all angled downward hence gravity pulls down all the waste materials. As if it appears simple, the drainage system is complex which encompasses components like vents, traps and clean outs. The vents allow air to enter through drainage pipes to regulate water flow else water gets collected in the traps.

A sanitary sewer or foul sewer is an underground pipe for transporting sewages from houses, public places and commercial buildings to treatment facilities or disposal where it is filtered, treated and discharged.

There are different types of sewers which are as follows:
  1. Conventional gravity sewers

  2. Force mains

  3. Effluent sewer

  4. Simplified sewer

  5. Vacuum sewer

** (Pics of manhole cover, plant, tunnel etc.)**

We should not confuse between sanitary sewer and storm sewer. The storm sewer is an underground pipeline system or open ditches designed to carry water during rainfall and other drainages and discharged into rivers or other surface water bodies without treatment. It is not designed to carry sewage and other hazardous wastes. So, we should not pour chemicals, motor oils, paints other household items which could poison fish, birds and other wildlife finding its ways into drinking water supplies.

Scope of plumbing

  1. General
    1. Work

    2. Quality standards

    3. Submittals

    4. Preconstruction and preparation

  2. Materials

    1. Sanitary sewer pipes

    2. Water service

    3. Gas supply

    4. Water heater

    5. Plumbing fixtures

    6. Cabinets, lavatory vanities and countertops

    7. Materials delivery and storage

  3. Construction and Installation
    1. General installation

    2. Repair, replace or install fixtures

    3. Installation of cabinets, lavatory, countertops etc.

    4. Repair and cleanup

What’s Next