Cool plumbing! You might not think those two words go together, but let us tell you that after reading about the 5 following plumbing systems across the world, you’ll be amazed at the science, engineering, and even art that goes into creating some of the most unique commercial plumbing systems in the world.
Space Station Plumbing Systems
The toilet system is designed to recycle as much water as possible turning waste water into drinking water.
We should have said coolest commercial plumbing systems in the universe because this first commercial plumbing system is out of this world – in space!
Circling around the globe at 17,000 mph, 235 miles (378 km) away from solid ground, the space station plumbing system beckons questions like which way does water flow in a weightless environment? Can toilets flush in free-fall? And if something springs a leak in while in Earth’s orbit, which plumber would you call?
The engineers that put the space station plumbing system together had to take into account the lack of gravity. Whereas plumbing on Earth utilizes gravitational pull to move water through pipes, the International Space Station (ISS) system includes dozens of pumps and fans that create the pressure needed to coax the liquids and gasses into moving. Special faucets and toilets were designed to make this happen.
“For water faucets, it’s a lot different,” said Dave Williams, system manager for Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. “For getting a drink, we usually keep the drink in a sealed container — it kind of reminds me of a kid’s juice bag or something. You hook the bag up to the dispenser and you select how much you want and hit the button. It dispenses that fixed amount of water and then it will stop. You can’t just turn on the faucet and let it go.”
Similarly, the toilet system was specially designed to recycle as much water as possible. That’s right, recycle wastewater… into drinking water! “This equipment must achieve a higher level of cleanliness than its earthly counterparts for several reasons. Unlike most municipal systems, the ISS system recycles the urine of both the crew and the laboratory animals and returns it to the drinking water supply,” reports Williams.
Now that’s out of this world!
Japanenase Plumbing Systems
While commercial scale sewer systems existed in Japan as early at 2,2000 years ago, the first modern sewerage system in Japan was the Kanda Sewerage, which was built in 1884 in the Kanda area of Tokyo.
Marked by its spotlessness, this massive sewer system is one of the largest and likely the cleanest in the world. The system of labyrinths and tunnels create a concrete maze below the country that must serve the 127.3 million people as well as the average 8 typhoons that hit each year.
This impressive system works to decontaminate the water for Japanese systems and the Japanese countryside and major cities alike. For decades, water in towns like Hachiman-bori reached levels of pollution that destroyed the outdoor ecology. Thankfully, “after the sewer system was constructed, the water quality was successfully brought back to its former state,” according to the Japan Sewer System Report.
For more incredible pictures, look here.
Ancient Rome Plumbing Systems
The ruins of the ancient Roman aqueduct in Caesaria National Park Israel.
Throughout 300 BC- 500 AD the Roman Empire was marked by the most advanced plumbing system of its time. If you look across the Roman Empire you wouldn’t miss the miles and miles of aqueducts created to transport fresh water to cities and farmland; the longest spanning 87 miles!
The Romans also figured out how to recycled public bath wastewater by using it as part of the flow that flushed the latrines. Terracotta piping was used in the plumbing to carry wastewater from homes and the huge, multi-roomed public bathhouses. And remarkably, the Romans were the first to seal pipes in concrete to resist the high water pressures developed in siphons and elsewhere.
While we don’t see the use of public restrooms sans roofs and doors anymore, we do owe a lot of our modern-day plumbing ingenuity to the engineers of the ancient days.
Plumbing Systems in London
Now this one is just strange.
Dutch Company UriLift has created futuristic urinals that emerge from the ground every evening in London. For around £45,000 a pop, dozens of these cylindrical toilets have been installed in areas full of pubs and bars: places which get lively on the weekend but don’t have a particular need for public toilets the rest of the time.
The Dutch company created these pods to mitigate the excessive urination of male partygoers who end up peeing on sidewalks, buildings, and plants when no easily-accessible latrine is available.
The urinals are activated by remote typically controlled by the managers of nearby bars. The next morning the street-sweepers clean it from empty cans, glass etc. and lower it down with their remote. They also activate the self-cleaning system so that the UriLift is clean when it is activated in the evening.
As you can see, plumbing systems, whether commercial or residential are way more than a couple of pipes and a pull chain. Serious ingenuity, creativity, and engineering that goes into each stage of the plumbing process to make sure the water stays clean, leaks don’t contaminate surrounding areas, and pipes don’t block free flow. These amazing plumbing systems had some real plumbing experts on their hands.
If you’d like a plumbing expert to work on your commercial or residential plumbing system, call Deer Valley Plumbing today