Family, friends, health, work, beautiful sunny southern California… the gratitude list that we’re all forming this Thanksgiving month seems to grow longer the more we ponder. With all the things we appreciate in our life, perhaps plumbing might find its place on our list this year. Plumbing? Yes, it sounds preposterous, but a closer look may just illustrate that this new-world wonder has been flying under the gratitude radar.

Technically defined, plumbing is a distribution system used for relocating water and waste. Pipes, drains, tubes, fittings, valves and other materials are used for drinking, bathing, toileting, heating, washing, sewage and more. As long ago as 2700 B.C. in the Indus Valley (modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) civilizations were using plumbing for public baths, waste removal and distributing water. Ancient Rome, Greece, Persia and China had all developed plumbing “systems” of some sort, but obviously these systems were less sanitary, slower and rudimentary in comparison to today’s standards.

In America, with the technological boom of the 1800’s, agrarian living slowly become less of a necessity and by the end of 19th century the population of New York City alone was almost 3.5 million. As population density increases, the need to manage waste also increases. Queen Victoria’s Prince Albert died in 1861, and the Prince of Wales’ best friend passed in 1871, both to typhoid caused by poor plumbing. It wasn’t until 1885 when Thomas Twyford created the first toilet as we know them today – a complete, free-standing toilet on a pedestal base. Not parts or traps letting odor or disease escape inspired a progression of plumbing underground sewer systems and an overall improvement in waste and sewage management.

His quality assurance test involved throwing 10 apples, four pieces of paper and a large flat sponge down the toilet. If the items cleared, the toilet was fit for use!

As great as Twyford’s 1885 toilets was, it doesn’t compare to today’s porcelain thrones, of which we should be thankful for.

We would wager that as we all turned our shower knob this morning, the water turned on. When we turned it to hot, waited 15 seconds, and tentatively placed our hand under the stream, we most likely felt warmth. Our toilets flushed and teeth were brushed without any hiccups, and we knew that sneaking a quick sip from sink faucet wouldn’t make us sick. Guess what? We are the statistical minority.

  • In 2006, the United Nations Human Development Report estimated that 2.6 billion people on this planet do not have indoor plumbing or basic sanitation.
  • 3.4 million preventable deaths happen every year due to poor water and sanitation systems. That’s is almost the entire city of Los Angeles.
  • Waterborne diseases, like Cholera and Hepatitis are responsible for 15% of all child deaths every year
  • 780 Million people on our planet lack access to clean water.
  • Water and sanitation related deaths take more lives through disease than any war takes through guns.
  • More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.
  • So next time we climb into a warm bath, or quickly grab that fresh glass of cold water, let’s be grateful. Instead of putting off that leak and wasting 10 gallons of a water a day (a leaky pipe dripping a drop a second = 10 gallons of water wasted) get it fixed. Realize our luck to even need to have a hot water heater fixed, water pressure increased, and new toilet installed. Hopefully this Thanksgiving season as we inevitably visit the bathroom, we’ll think: yes, plumbing is a true reason to give thanks. To learn more about services like kitchen remodels in Newport Beach, or bathroom updates by D.C. Drains Inc., call us at (949) 689-7021 or contact us online.

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