Wastewater - Where Does It Go When I Flush The Toilet?


Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater is carried to the treatment plant via sanitary sewers. The connection from the house to the sewer system is a pipe, about 6 in diameter. A larger pipe (8-12 in diameter), called a collecting sewer, runs down the street picking up the wastewater from individual sewers. These pipes eventually run to an interceptor sewer which delivers the flow to the treatment plant. In large cities, interceptor sewers can be huge, sometimes big enough to drive a car through! Engineers design sewer systems to take advantage of gravity flow, but sometimes pumping is required.

Rainwater is collected by storm drains and flow through storm sewers to settling ponds or lakes and rivers.

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