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How the water and waste systems work

Updated on December 31, 2011

Water is supplied to a house from an underground main pipe. At the point of entry to the land, there is a main cock or tap, and usually (in Australia) a water meter. In an emergency, such as a burst pipe, all the water in the house can be turned off at this tap.

Pipes lead from this point to bring cold water to all the taps and services in the house and garden. One pipe goes to the water heater from which a separate system of pipes leads to the hot water taps. In older houses, the pipes are often made of galvanized iron, but in modern buildings they are usually copper; copper is trouble-free and lasts longer without corrosion or blocking.

Waste from basins, baths, sinks and toilets is led away through wider pipes made of copper, cast iron, plastic or earthenware to the main sewer or septic system. A water filled trap (a U- or S shaped bend) must be fitted between every waste pipe and the #main waste disposal system#.

This prevents foul air, bacteria or vermin from entering the house through drainage outlets. In addition, air-filled vent pipes are fitted below the water-traps to prevent any siphoning or backwash. These pipes are led outside above roof level.

Storm water (from gutters and drains) must not be led into the sewerage disposal system.


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