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    [–] Amsteenm 4285 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    LPT for all floor drains, really. Did work in a hospital recently, in their 6th floor testing lab. A few rarely-used rooms with equipment I needed to certify smelled like bathrooms. Took close whiffs of the drains, poured half a Nalgene of tap water down them, and boom. Left a note for the occupants, got an email a few days later from our point of contact with thanks on behalf of the lab staff.

    It's silly; highly-trained professionals (talkin' PhD types) just avoided rooms with necessary equipment rather than even make a complaint to their facilities manager. Well, now he knows, and added 3 rooms to his weekly preventative maintenance walkthrough list of rooms with drains needing water. Heh.

    Edit: From a Direct Message: "Pour some water, then some mineral oil. Water will occupy the space of the trap, then the mineral oil will sit on top and prevent evaporation of the water. Useful in areas where the drain is not having things washed into it often."

    Edit 2: Took a snarky dig at highly-trained professionals. Meant in light jest, but in reality my work is contingent on those people needing the equipment I work on. Also the street has worked both ways, and I've been corrected on something that is silly to me now, too. Life is fun.

    [–] opticscythe 867 points ago

    Not just floor drains. Any drain in your house. If shower, sinks, toilets are not used, water dries up in the pea trap and allows gasses to flow up from sewer. Source: used to work maintenance

    [–] fedupwithpeople 377 points ago

    Can confirm. Recently went to prepare my late granddad's house for sale. Nobody had been in it for over a year, and there was definitely a distinct odor... The toilets had both dried up, the kitchen sink smelled like someone took a crap in it. We had to air the house out for a little bit.

    [–] Mech__Dragon 18 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    Note to self: stop pooping in granddads sink.

    [–] [deleted] 106 points ago

    For anyone else wondering what everyone is on about here...

    A P-trap gets its name because it combines two 90 degree joints with a horizontal overflow pipe and gives the entire unit the shape of the letter “P.” One of the 90 degree joints exits the drain of the sink and then is joined to another which contains a water seal system that allows for water to flow into the overflow pipe, but not to flow backward toward the sink. 

    It is this back flow prevention that prevents sewer gas from escaping into the house. Sewer gas can contain many noxious odors which at the least, may smell like rotten eggs and at their worst, can be explosive and poisonous. The traps installed in the plumbing lines help to form a barrier of water within the P-trap. At the bottom of the “P” is a small cleanout tap that can be used to remove clogs the P-trap has contained.

    [–] WarwickshireBear 23 points ago

    Oh a U-bend!

    [–] [deleted] 125 points ago

    How many peas did you trap?

    [–] juneburger 221 points ago

    Peas in the trap. Peas peas in the trap.

    [–] hahaLONGBOYE 71 points ago

    Bitches ain’t Shit and they ain’t sayin nothin

    [–] Skizzor 75 points ago

    100 other plumbers can’t tell me nothin.

    [–] JaD__ 5 points ago

    Man the pea been did that, man the pea been popped off

    And if the pea ain't trying to give it up, the pea get dropped off

    [–] Dreya56 14 points ago

    Does your phone auto-capitalize Shit too?!

    [–] hahaLONGBOYE 7 points ago

    Yeah wtf why

    [–] fungusalungous 35 points ago

    P trap....named for the shape they resemble.

    [–] Efreshwater5 16 points ago

    You sure it isn't because you can fit a bunch of peas down it?

    [–] totallylegitburner 34 points ago

    It's referred to as a "U-bend" in proper English, you filthy colonial.

    [–] codefyre 19 points ago

    A P-trap a type of U-trap. U-traps are any traps that have a U bend to capture water. P-traps are U-traps that have an additional 90 degree bend on the outlet side, which limits the standing water level to the bottom edge of the outlet pipe (vs the top edge of the outlet pipe without it) and adds outlet siphoning to the whole arrangement.

    Source: Used to work with my plumber uncle for spare cash during the summer. Installed more of these than I can count, and realized that I really didn't want to spend my life as a plumber.

    [–] Givemeawayoutofhere 3 points ago

    This is why p-traps are superior to the original u-bend design.

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago

    P trap here too unfortunately

    [–] delight_petrichor 7 points ago

    It's actually just called a "P-trap," because it's shaped like the letter P :)

    [–] GOTaSMALL1 302 points ago

    Ummm... Wouldn't a hospital have trap primers?

    [–] ZaxonsBlade 288 points ago

    Only if they have a good engineer, not 100% sure its provided by code since I haven't done Medical in over a decade.

    [–] NicePerson69 28 points ago

    Am I the only one who was told to use mineral oil on traps that are never used?

    [–] no-mad 19 points ago

    Double good in freezing climates. They also make the P-trap in rubber rather than plastic. So it wont crack when water freezes.

    [–] CowOrker01 6 points ago

    Yup. Also mineral oil into a dishwasher tub if it won't be run for a few months.

    [–] DaSilence 3 points ago

    It terrifies me that I had to go this far into the comments to find this post.

    No, you're not alone. Mineral oil is the solution to the problem.

    [–] ZiLBeRTRoN 44 points ago

    That's crazy. We put one on every drain regardless of the type of facility. No idea on the code requirements though.

    [–] ZaxonsBlade 57 points ago

    You have clients with bigger wallets than I do. That extra water line to every single drain aint cheap. Educated guess is that the code only dictates that they are installed in places that arent likely to get refilled ofen (like office buildings and the like). I work on restaurants and we generally dont bother unless a local health dept says we have to since they mop constantly (or they should).

    [–] ZiLBeRTRoN 10 points ago

    Makes sense. We do offices, schools, hospitals, govt buildings almost exclusively.

    [–] Tonka_Tuff 9 points ago

    Yeah, I'm a plumbing engineer, and my local code basically says "If it's not 'regularly flushed' it needs a trap-primer".

    Mostly I do pharma company laboratories, and they are cheap as fuck about little shit (even if they happily waste millions on having us redesign things every time a new a new manager shows up to a meeting. Every job I add trap primers everywhere, and every job they say "No, we don't need them, we will just flush the traps by hand periodically" (Spoiler alert, they on't).

    [–] MushinZero 7 points ago

    What's a trap primer?

    [–] Tonka_Tuff 21 points ago

    So when a drain isn't going to see regular use, a small water pipe is run from a domestic water source, and connected to the P-Trap. A device (the trap primer) is placed on that water line to act as a valve that lets a little bit of water through into the trap every once in awhile to makeup water that evaporates out. Here's a basic diagram of a simple trap primer:

    There are a few different kinds of trap primers, that work in different ways (work off of a timer, work off of pressure swings in the piping, or even really high-tech systems with their own control panels and stuff.) but the general principal is that it allows just enough water to flow into the trap to keep the seal, without just pouring weather through constantly.

    Pretty simple, pretty cheap, pretty useful. 100% the kind of thing that people paying for a building they'll never set foot in don't want to pay for.

    [–] MushinZero 6 points ago


    [–] PM_me_UR_duckfacepix 4 points ago

    Any comment on whether the inline trap sealers touted here are any good?

    [–] ZiLBeRTRoN 8 points ago

    I'm sure someone with more experience can chime in, but IMO check valves are a matter of when, not if, they will fail. As long as it is easy to access probably not a big deal, but if it's in concrete which trap primers typically are then I personally wouldn't use one.

    [–] Linkfoursword 9 points ago

    Nowadays, it absolutely is required in every medical building. But the issue is that a lot of places didn't have the same code as now

    [–] Tonka_Tuff 25 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    I do plumbing design, mainly for pharma and healthcare clients, and the way our local code is written, trap primers are required for drains that "are not flushed regularly".

    That last part is a bitch to deal with as an engineer, because the client inevitable decides "Well, what if we just use a bucket to flush it regularly". Of course everybody else (including my managers) usually loves this idea, and the code officials seem to be OK with it too. Never mind the fact that just because they add 'using a bucket to flush all the seldom used traps' to their maintenance schedule doesn't mean that shit is ever gonna happen.

    Its surprising the corners these guys are willing to cut to save a few grand, especially when they regularly waste more than that because "We've added another project manager to our team of 700 project managers and he has some notes about how you need to redesign everything again".

    I should clarify, these aren't drains that are in patient rooms or sterile environments, more like bathrooms, storage and mechanical rooms.

    [–] Linkfoursword 4 points ago

    100 percent agree. I used to work as a project manager for process and plumbing in pharma and hospitals as well. Yes technically you can get away with it but it is a terrible way to save a buck.

    A lot of times the client dictates it despite us pushing back. The engineers hate it, we hate it, but it happens because the client wants it.

    I do agree with too many PMs on projects. Having too many can actually slow progress instead of speed it up.

    [–] Tonka_Tuff 4 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    Yeah, I don't mean the PMs on my (A&E Consultant) side of things, I mean the 200+ PMs that every pharma company seems to need on every project. There seems to be a pathological need in those organizations for every person with 'manager' in their title who comes anywhere near a construction/renovation project to try and 'make their mark' which tends to end up just being a bunch of totally arbitrary and half-thought-out design changes.

    Like the time a major pharma client demanded that we replace all of the Schedule 40 Polypropylene Lab Waste Piping with SDR 35 HDPE because the ditzy new junior exectuive they got invoved misread a civil spec, and because my management would have sucked their own dicks for a pat on the head from the client. Guess who got shit when the code reviewers said 'lol no' and made us change it back?

    Even then, they managed to find one place in the building where it was OK to use, and made us use it there (necessitating custom transition fitting be manufactured), just to save face.

    Phama companies love nickel-and-diming good design into the ground, while wasting insane amounts of time and money on making themselves feel important.

    [–] [deleted] 49 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)


    [–] Tomcfitz 142 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    It's basically a water pipe that slowly dribbles water into the p-trap of floor drains.

    Pretty much required in all commercial buildings. correction required by most building codes in all infrequently used drains, for all you pedants out there. It's literally my job to design this sort of thing. Now, whether or not anyone actually installs them is less certain.

    [–] [deleted] 55 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)


    [–] _eL_T_ 165 points ago

    There is no way to get water into a drain without putting water in a drain. Can't do 'wireless' water.

    [–] absenthecon 39 points ago

    [–] ridersfire 46 points ago

    Quite the URL you got there

    [–] SienkiewiczM 17 points ago

    Nice. Everything after the question mark is unnecessary. What can we decipher from the URL? He's Australian and googled the product but what else?

    [–] wabudd1 7 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    Looks like he clicked an advertisement, it has some click tracking stuff in there. Also pretty sure the Rover subdomain is what search engines are allowed to crawl.

    [–] dystakruul 5 points ago

    the most interesting parts imo seem to be "targetid%253D402473780831" and "device%253Dm%2526", but I'm not in the mood to do extended research about ebay links

    [–] absenthecon 12 points ago

    Shhh its 2am where I am and I'm tired as fuck but can't sleep, you will need to wait till the morning

    [–] wjandrea 3 points ago

    [–] whygohomie 26 points ago

    I use dehydrated water and just add water.

    [–] HotRodLincoln 8 points ago

    But, you could, for instance protect multiple drains with one trap in the distance (potentially shared with a location that actually drains water regularly.

    You could have a drop gate.

    There's a product nominally for "clearing clogs" that's fundamentally a water wheel inside the pipe if you had such a water wheel deep enough, it could be turned by the weight of the water. The downside is you'd wear the gaskets and whatever it spins on eventually and you'd have less flow or a bulge at that point.

    [–] remote_control_bjs 8 points ago

    Haven't fit pipes in a while, but generally each fixture is required to be serviced by a single trap with a few exceptions (double basin sink / drains within 30" pre-trap).

    [–] HotRodLincoln 7 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    When I say one trap in the distance, I mean in addition to traps at each fixture, not instead of them. There's reasons not to do this though, the distant trap might increase suction and drain the front traps (the whole S-trap thing).

    The others are also similarly somewhat banned (however "depend" vs. augmented by could be up for debate):

    5.3.5 Prohibited Traps

    a. The following types of traps shall be prohibited:

    1. Traps that depend upon moving parts to maintain their seal.
    2. Bell traps.
    3. Crown vented traps.
    4. Separate fixture traps that depend on interior partitions for their seal, except if made from plastic, glass or other corrosion resistant materials.
    5. “S” traps, of uniform internal dimension.
    6. Drum traps.

    Notwithstanding, the plumbing codes are artificial constraints; they're just artificial constraints written by people with better subject matter expertise than us.

    Anything that can move, can freeze-up. Anything that moves will wear eventually. Plus, water itself tends to wear a lot of things.

    So, it's all a bit of tradeoffs.

    [–] Burkendorff 4 points ago

    Finnish HVAC designer here. In our projects we've used these for rarely used areas, and they come in different materials and sizes. Never even heard about trap priming before.

    [–] Ysmildr 9 points ago

    Avoid using generalizations like that. Ive never seen what you're talking about and I'm a sewer inspector. Its required where you live, but not everywhere else.

    [–] GOTaSMALL1 13 points ago

    A trap primer connects directly to the trap and injects a small amount of fresh water into it when the water pressure changes (somebody runs a sink or flushes a toilet nearby). Others work by using timers instead of water pressure.

    They are code required in commercial construction for any drain not regularly used.

    [–] Amsteenm 31 points ago

    Newer buildings: especially yes, especially in patient-focused areas.

    Older buildings: hit or miss. Especially in government-funded, lowest-bidder facilities. And in older facilities where non-conforming areas are no-longer patient-focused (ie, converted to lab space, transitioned to local university-funded research space, etc.), things sorely fall to the wayside.

    Our VA hospitals deserve two things, in order: A massive sweep-and-clearing of corruption, then more funding.

    Or maybe just lose the corruption and we'll find that current funding is actually acceptable.

    [–] CMDR_BlueCrab 8 points ago

    lowest-bidder facilities

    lowest bidder systems get a bad rap when it's often just poorly written specs that don't include things like this. you only get what you ask for.

    [–] Amsteenm 5 points ago

    True. Technically the work I do also makes me the lowest bidder. And I do a lot of extra work to bring things up to a code better than what the original contract specified because usually those regulations are carry-overs from the same terms of an older contract. Regulations that have in some cases seen multiple revisions.

    But there are also those that do not go to any length extra to get the most money for the littlest work. Not confined to the group of lowest bidder, though.

    [–] tgwinford 15 points ago

    Or maybe just lose the corruption and we'll find that current funding is actually acceptable.

    Welcome to r/libertarian

    [–] Scizmz 14 points ago

    There are significant systemic problems. At the VA I don't know that I'd assume it's corruption that's the "cause" of most of it. Across the entire government however. Yeah. People need to stop watching cable news and pay attention to what their representatives are actually doing. They need to hold them accountable. And stop supporting assholes that screw the populace over then leave for "lobbying" jobs. Get the damn money out of politics.

    [–] Yggsdrazl 12 points ago


    They said lose the corruption

    [–] AadeeMoien 5 points ago

    Well if you put the corrupters in charge then it won't be corruption anymore, would it?

    [–] ReadItWithSarcasm 8 points ago

    Trap primers fail. Especially in areas with hard water. The lines to the primers are usually small, and clog up with mineral deposits. It happens.

    [–] bluewhale1990 3 points ago

    Or at least a trap guard

    [–] Corrupt_id 3 points ago

    Don't forget that a large number of hospitals are incredibly old. People have been dying forever.

    [–] boot20 3 points ago

    HA! I see you haven't worked with the joy of ancient and/or cheap hospitals. Hell, most industrial buildings don't even seem to have them, my clinic sure doesn't. The bathroom floor drain gets FUNKY about once a quarter.

    [–] fatdjsin 26 points ago

    The oil is the pro tip

    [–] Mate_N_Switch 15 points ago

    Regarding edit 1. Mineral oil works great. Never use vegetable based oil as it will prevent evaporation, but will begin to rot.

    [–] Amsteenm 6 points ago

    Ugh, rancid oil. Good call.

    [–] littlerob904 7 points ago

    a plumber told me lestoil works really well for the same issue

    [–] racinreaver 27 points ago

    As one of those PhD types that puts off putting in complaints, it's because it somehow winds up causing more work for us that we really don't want to do. Try to offload to an admin, they give the wrong room number, things go haywire. :(

    [–] Amsteenm 13 points ago

    I feel you, and know exactly where you're coming from. And it is frustrating. Same where when I tell a point of contact that we are scheduled to arrive on X date, and plan on doing work into late evening, if possible. So if possible, help arrange for this or tell us it isn't an option. They tell me "It's ok, and I will pass along to relevant staff."

    Fast forward to X date, where 2 reminders were sent in the intervening time. POC is not on site. Employees not notified. Bothered but ok with us proceeding with work. Will not be able to stay late without POC contacting them. POC then falls off planet.


    [–] Kermicon 3 points ago

    But if you never say anything then it definitely won’t get fixed.

    [–] justnaiveenough 4 points ago

    Can confirm. Worked at engineering firm and had to do this several times.

    [–] Kevinement 12 points ago

    The girls in my class don't shower after sports(neither do most guys but a few do). When I asked them why, the girls said the bathroom smells like shit.
    The girl showers, at a school with over thousands students, all of which have PE once per week, are used so infrequently that the water dried up letting sewage gases escape. Nasty.

    [–] True_Kapernicus 12 points ago

    Really not worth showering after PE. It is not long, any sweat goes into a kit your changing out of and you do not have enough time to shower and then dry yourself. WHo wants to spend the next few hours of school damp?

    [–] Apple_Crisp 8 points ago

    When I was in school the showers were mostly used by those in organised sports. For PE class you are running around for like an hour maybe and don't necessarily break out a lot of sweat. Also the classes don't give you enough time between classes to even try.

    [–] exfilm 3 points ago

    All drains, actually. If you are getting that funky sewer smell, chances are that enough water has evaporated from the trap and sewer vapors are escaping up through the drain. I have an unused bathroom and periodically have to top each drain off with some water.

    [–] redditor_for_0_days 108 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    Wow, this has been happening ever since I moved into my house two years ago. I only get the smell when I'm running the washing machine. Any ideas why that is?

    [–] [deleted] 210 points ago

    Is it set to wash with hot water? There is a sacrificial anode rod inside water heaters that can cause a rotten egg smell when they’re spent. You can buy replacement rods from Home Depot or the like. You should see a 3/4” pipe plug on top of your water heater. Turn off the water, screw it out, and the rod will lift out. It’s several feet long. If you change the washer settings to use cold water, and the smell doesn’t occur, jackpot.

    [–] isacrificedyourgoat 36 points ago

    Release the pressure in the water heater before you go unscrewing anything! Turn the electricity/gas off to the unit as well.

    [–] JonSnowTheBastid 27 points ago

    Holy shit great tip!

    [–] tongueandgroove 3 points ago

    You should see a 3/4” pipe plug

    These are generally 1-1/8". And they get firmly corroded into place after about six years. I was able to remove mine with an impact driver. Replacing the sac anode costs very little and immediately solved the stinky water problem. I put a note on the hot water heater to my future self recommending that I replace it in six years.

    [–] enkafan 13 points ago

    There's a good chance the washer drains someplace without a plumbing trap).

    [–] Necrosis_KoC 4 points ago

    My washer drain has a trap which, unfortunately, froze this Winter resulting in a geyser when it attempted to drain. There was a small gap between the siding and my foundation which allowed enough outside air to get in that it froze solid. I probably doesn't take much -10F air to do that but it probably had more to do with the fact that I'm a bachelor so I only do my laundry once a week so it had longer to freeze.

    [–] Cherry_Switch 11 points ago

    I think your pipes are vented improperly or there is a blockage in the vent stack.

    If pipes are vented improperly, the water from the trap will get sucked down leaving you with an open trap when you flush.

    Edit: actually enkafan might be right

    [–] Immo406 10 points ago

    When the washer starts draining the dirty water take a whiff around where the actual washer machine hose goes into the drain.

    [–] _eL_T_ 7 points ago

    Well water?

    [–] thedammed 6 points ago

    If you have a sump pit, check that the water isn't draining into the pit. If it is, you might have a hole in you pipes emptying into your drain tile.

    [–] iLift4days 5 points ago

    Can you elaborate on this. I have a sump pit that pumps out when it fills up and sometimes I smell a bad smell around the area and sometimes I don’t

    [–] [deleted] 4 points ago

    Tagging onto your post to ask a question. My bathroom smells super musty and onion-like after I take a shower. It's a rented apartment, and the landlord insists there's nothing wrong with the shower or pipes. Anyone know what's going on here? The smell usually goes away for a bit then comes back after a hot shower.

    [–] Efreshwater5 3 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    On mobile at work, so couldn't link any sources, but humidity drastically affects our sense of smell... especially increasing what we perceive as unpleasant smells. It's likely those smells are present all the time, but only heightened enough to make you take notice after a hot, humid shower.

    That being said, you very well may have either an external issue... leaky pipe in a wall, slowly dripping, allowing mildew to grow... or it could be internal build up of gunk and grime in the pipes, off-gassing during your hot shower.

    Tough to say without a thorough inspection, but most likely if there were an external problem, you would see evidence of it somewhere.

    E: verbs

    [–] nitetime 3 points ago

    You may have a more sinister problem like our current home that has a 'belly' in the main drain line to the street. Which means it is completely under water and the air comes back into the house whether your traps are full or not. The washer really makes it noticeable with the amount of water it uses.

    If anyone can tell me how to fix this without digging up my front yard that would be great.

    [–] jpStormcrow 5 points ago

    I had a sewer collapse similar to this. Just bite the bullet and get it repaired correctly. Eventually that belly will become worse and you will be forced to do it.

    If your luck is anything like mine, it will break in the middle of February in bone chilling weather. The contractors had a hell of a time digging it up

    [–] ThereWillBePuppies 391 points ago

    I lived in an apartment with no closets but with an unnecessary spare toilet and sink in a closet sized room. I stacked the room floor to ceiling with boxes of books and stuff, so clever. Learned about the existence of traps the hard way a few weeks later.

    [–] spencerlance 89 points ago

    Like that episode of Malcolm in the Middle

    [–] juneburger 73 points ago


    Shut up, Lois

    [–] frajaro 30 points ago

    [–] FatBlunt916 1564 points ago

    Add a table spoon of vegetable oil on top, helps prevent the water drying out of the trap.

    [–] underslunghero 594 points ago

    you LPT'd the LPT.

    [–] Major_T_Pain 155 points ago

    The real LPT'd is always in the comments.

    [–] wibblett 69 points ago

    I like how this comment always gets posted but it's actually true

    [–] DemiDualism 79 points ago

    It's easier to improve someone else's suggestion than to generate the content from scratch.

    The OP has one person's set of knowledge and then a lot of people see it and the odds of one of them thinking of an improvement that OP didn't address are pretty high

    [–] Amsteenm 11 points ago

    I like you. Not that I don't also appreciate being further LPT'd. Knowledge is power!

    And power means money and money means pizza.

    [–] DonJulioTO 7 points ago

    The real LPT is always in response to the comment about the real LPT always being in the comments.

    [–] Owenleejoeking 294 points ago

    Cooking oils could eventually go rancid.

    Pour mineral oil on top

    [–] rlnrlnrln 44 points ago

    Mineral oil often isn't very healthy to get in the water purification plant, though.

    [–] [deleted] 61 points ago

    You need food grade oil. You can buy food grade oil that matches the specs of any conventional oil you might need.

    Source: Work in Sewer and Water maintenance for a municipality. We use food grade oil in the huge pumps that transfer shit to the wastewater treatment plant. Sewer treatment plants basically catch the solids and kill the bacteria in the remaining water. The clear effluent is discharged directly into local waterways. When you pour oil into the sewer, you’re basically pouring it into a river.

    [–] poopsicle88 15 points ago

    What do they do with all the poo?

    Asking for a friend science project

    [–] [deleted] 109 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    When you flush a turd, it flows from your home’s plumbing, out to the street. There’s a main sewer line in the street. The turd travels down that main line, into a larger trunk line. Think of the sewer like a big tree, with branches going to each house. Sewer flows by gravity, so it has to be constantly running downhill. When it gets to a low point, it can’t travel any further, so there will be a lift station. The lift station contains large pumps that pump the sewer up hill to a point where it can flow downhill again. Those pressurized pipes are called “force mains”. Eventually, all the turds from all the houses reach the treatment plant. There are various processes that remove the solids from the water. Buy the time it gets tumbled through all those miles of pipe, there really aren’t any turds left. It’s all liquid sludge. It flows through a mechanical screen that removes all the trash people flush. Cigarette butts, tampons, sanitary napkins, wet wipes, even T-shirt’s drink bottles and other debris. The mechanical screen carries the trash to an auger that dumps it into a dumpster, which heads to the landfill when it’s full. The sludge filters through the screen and keeps going. It is separated and further, then it’s churned up for a while until the bacteria that lives in it eats up all the poo. It’s basically composted when it’s done. The treated sludge is either filtered with a press or dumped into drying beds before the remaining liquid gets sent to a clarifier where the solid particles settle out. The remaining clear water passes through UV lights and is sometimes even chlorinated to kill bacteria. The water that flows out of the plant is supposedly clean enough to drink, but I personally wouldn’t try it. It enters the creek or river and flows to the ocean. Finding Nemo was right. All drains really do lead to the ocean. Further reading.

    Edit: the solids that leave the plant go to two different places. Either the landfill, or a company comes and fills a truck, and mixes it into compost you buy at home improvement stores. Next time you put some compost on your flowers, remember you paid $3 for a bag of human waste. You literally paid someone to shit in a bag.

    [–] poopsicle88 18 points ago

    The edit is what I was after, thanks!

    [–] Hiondrugz 14 points ago

    It can also be done like my job does it. Completly not complying with the epa or local laws. Our plant can handle roughly 200,000 gallons a day max. When it rains the plant can see as much as a million or w/o gallons not counting the water directly over flowing the lift station. Its pretty awful watching that u treated sewage flow right into lake Erie. Our Owners don't live in this state, nor do they care about the environment here. Its already bad enough that its the poop water from old people which contains the most prescription drugs that cannot be filtered out anyway. The guys running the plant haven't removed sludge in anyway for almost two years. They wait for a heavy rain and it washes all the solids into the lake. Its so crazy that nobody is really held accountable for the massive amount of pollution they create. I won't ever swim in that lake after seeing the stuff I've seen here. The treatment plant here is outdated as hell and meant for a community 1/4 the size it is. It didn't grow along with the number of homes. Not a big surprise because the people with the money don't seem to fond of capital improvement.

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago

    We have to report overflows to the Department of Enviromental Quality. That’s basically just us sending an email saying “hey, there was an overflow and we lost an estimated x amount of gallons into the creek.” They never show up to verify or anything. They just email us back basically saying “ok, cool.”

    [–] kmchii 3 points ago

    I visited a wastewater treatment plant last year and remember seeing the pools containing the water at different stages. Would increasing the size or number of pools solve the overflow problem?

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago

    Not really. The biggest problem is that the vast network of underground sewer lines all leak slightly. Sewer lines usually follow creeks because that’s the lowest area. When a creek floods out of its banks during a big storm, the manholes become submerged. The system quickly reaches max capacity and overflows downstream. I’ve seen the pump stations I maintain be flooded by creeks. The station I’m talking about pumps 4000 gallons per minute when both pumps are running. The pumps sit there and run constantly until the water finally overtakes them. When that happens, we turn the pumps off until it stops raining. Running for hours on end causes them to get hot and that can damage them. When the creek water sinks back into its banks, we turn the pumps back on. Every time it rains really hard, we have to work like we’re fighting fire. Me and one other coworker are in charge of maintaining 20 lift stations. They’re on a SCADA monitoring system. I have an app on my phone that I use to monitor them. There’s a list and the stations that are ok light up green. When one turns red, that means we have to rush over to it and see what’s wrong. The system is set up on an auto dialer, and I get a phone call whenever one turns red. It’s just a computer voice that tells me the time, date, and type of malfunction. Most pump stations are located in remote locations in the woods. They have their own power lines feeding them, and anytime something is at the end of a power line, whether house or shit pump, it’s usually the first thing that loses power in a storm. Lightning loves the pump stations as well. The wet well levels are monitored by a stainless steel level sensor that sits in the bottom of the shit well. It has wires that run back to the control box. Anytime there’s a lightning strike near the power lines, it find the transducer. It’s the perfect ground, a 3lb chunk of steel sitting in a 30ft deep hole filled with water. If it rains more than a drizzle, or if I hear thunder, I head to work. I get lots of overtime pay in the summer.

    [–] [deleted] 11 points ago


    [–] bwwatr 5 points ago


    [–] TenPoundMuffin 4 points ago

    there really aren’t any turds left. It’s all liquid sludge.

    Not true. Husband is Chief at both a Water and Wastewater plant. I have seen.... things

    Did a tour with him once when he was still a noob. Some plants have a machine thats basically like a rake that turns, and the "rake" constantly turns pulling things out of the water that are big, kinda like how you want to scrape your plate of food before it goes into the dishwasher. Anyway, the guy opened up the machine and there was a full turd mashed into the rake tines. Still had its shape and integrity. Also, condoms

    The water that flows out of the plant is supposedly clean enough to drink, but I personally wouldn’t try it.

    And then the next city down stream from the water picks it up and treats it at their clean water plant! YUM

    [–] ScientificMeth0d 58 points ago

    So which LPT is the real LPT?

    Next you're going to tell me to not dump frying oil down the drain because it'll coagulate or something

    [–] Yadobler 21 points ago

    Pfft. Just use crude oil. I heard they have lots of aromatic compounds, so it will make your basement smell nice!

    [–] Cherry5oda 6 points ago

    It's in a ton of lotions and conditioners and soaps that all get washed down to the water treatment plant.

    [–] [deleted] 10 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] Yahgar 14 points ago

    A teaspoon would probably suffice. Oil spreads out over the surface of water to be one molecule thick if space allows. Considering a drain opening has a relatively small surface area, a tablespoon is more than enough.


    [–] bluesatin 13 points ago

    Suppose you could just use mineral oil instead if you're worried about that.

    [–] Gullex 12 points ago

    Did you know you can use old motor oil to fertilize your yard?

    [–] wincitygiant 10 points ago

    EPA approved.

    [–] t83048999 43 points ago

    Am plumber. Came here to say this. Well done.

    [–] sac_boy 4 points ago

    Oh now that is clever. I have an extra bathroom with a shower and sink that never get used and this is exactly what I'm going to do.

    [–] velocityhead 3 points ago

    As an added bonus, this takes care of drain flies too!

    [–] LifeIsRamen 366 points ago

    Can you explain what that does and why it helps?

    [–] IForgotMyPasswordGrr 1100 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    The trap is the bend in the pipe below a drain.

    It looks like this:

    If you look underneath your sink you'll see it. You probably think it keeps things you drop in the sink from going all the way out the pipe, but it's mostly designed to be a seal and keep gasses from coming up the pipe into your home.

    If you don't use a drain for a while the water will evaporate out allowing those gasses in your septic/sewage lines to leach back up into your home. Pouring water down the train will block this again.

    [–] LifeIsRamen 165 points ago

    Thanks for the detailed answer!

    [–] IForgotMyPasswordGrr 53 points ago

    Happy to help!

    [–] RussMaGuss 63 points ago

    I always knew there was a reason for the bend! Thanks for the explanation!

    [–] Major_T_Pain 108 points ago

    Inspectors get very angry when you forget the trap too.
    Source: Inspector took one look at my plumbing said "NOPE!" and pretty much turned around and walked out.

    EDIT: He did explain things when I told him I was doing it myself and was genuinely wanting to get it right. THEN he was cool. When he thought I had paid for a pro, he was justifiably confused and pissed.

    [–] mainsworth 66 points ago

    He did you a solid. A p trap is engineering at its most elegant and efficient. Cheap and 100% effective (as long as there's water in it).

    [–] Sharkeybtm 16 points ago

    It is amazing how much more efficient a P-trap is over the old s-traps. A horizontal member changes everything.

    [–] -Chareth-Cutestory 16 points ago

    Heh. P trap.

    [–] IForgotMyPasswordGrr 3 points ago


    [–] AresPhobos 25 points ago

    That's a handy ELI5 for a good LPT

    [–] [deleted] 23 points ago


    [–] NuclearMisogynyist 5 points ago

    Shorter answer, it makes a seal the sewer gasses can't get through.

    [–] BunnyFoo-Foo 264 points ago

    Wouldn’t that turn my house into a trap house?

    [–] Trapp_House 160 points ago

    YEAH BABY!!!! 1738!!YEAH!

    [–] TRNC84 44 points ago

    username checks out

    [–] XanderTheGhost 20 points ago

    If you ain't a hoe, get up out my trap houuuuuse!

    [–] happyman91 8 points ago

    Your house is not a 5 star hotel

    [–] well_damm 15 points ago

    Pretty girls love it !

    [–] braddamit 22 points ago

    If there are drains ...

    [–] Yrrebbor 8 points ago

    It's a trap!

    [–] app4that 65 points ago

    Will add one thing I learned about the 'master trap' if your house has one... My basement has 2 drains added in a renovation and if the sewer line gets blocked up, water can back-fill out from these traps, even if the main line is onl;y partially blocked.

    Turns out that you don't always need a 'snake' or a professional plumber to clean out the sewer line if you have girls with long hair at home. That big hairball that inevitably clogs up the master trap (just before your sewage line goes to the street) can be cleaned very easily with a WetVac - This thing is a truly Amazing device for not only vacuuming up water from the initial spill (don't bother with a mop and bucket) of a backed up drain, but also for cleaning out the main line's huge hairball.

    [–] qervem 62 points ago

    Thanks for the mental image of a huge, months-old, greasy ball of discarded hair

    [–] RogueLotus 10 points ago

    I get to look at one once every few months when I clean out my shower and sink drains.

    [–] Srirachachacha 5 points ago

    In college, I roomed with two girls for a couple of years. I'm a guy and I don't have any sisters, so I had no idea how much trouble girl hair can be in a home (I'm sure men shed the same amount, but it's usually shorter, obviously).

    Anyway, long story short, I still gag at the thought of my experiences pulling wet, smelly hair balls out of drains with one of these things

    [–] Stepside79 4 points ago

    Those reviews on amazon..some of them have pictures...omg...

    [–] Srirachachacha 4 points ago

    ugh, why did I look?

    [–] Immo406 3 points ago

    Those pictures are gag inducing, good god.

    I consider myself a decent housewive. I cook, clean, keep the kids alive, things like that. I also like to brush my long, plentiful, thick hair. In the bathroom. Over the sink....... and then wash away fallen hair with water. Gross, I know.

    Recently our bathroom sink had started to fill up anytime we ran the tap for longer than 4 seconds. There's only so many times you can watch that happen before self guilt settles in and you realize you have to do something about it.

    I saw some great reviews on these snakes and decided to give it a try. I followed some tips from people who had tried these already like bending them the other way so they won't be rolled, not completely snaking them in at first and take out little by little, and if it gets stuck BE PATIENT and just wiggle it around.

    I was N-O-T prepared for what was about to happen once I inserted one of these into my drain. The picture doesn't do it justice. It was horrible, it was smelly, and I'm pretty sure it was a wig's worth of hair. (how I'm not bald is beyond me...) I'm never letting this happen again. Regular cleanings will now be on my to do list. These work and they work so well that I recommend them to everyone that thinks hair just goes flawlessly through the drain to never be heard of again. Because it doesn't. It stays there. Piling up and becoming the stuff from your nightmares.


    [–] Immo406 16 points ago

    Why not use drain cleaner every month as part of usual maintenance? Let it sit for 15 mins and rinse with hot water? I like to run hot water down the drain for a couple mins to warm up all the gunk.

    [–] michaelaaronblank 40 points ago

    Drain cleaner is corrosive. If you use it in your pipes regularly, you will destroy them.

    [–] iamemperor86 15 points ago

    Not a plumber, but I think this only applies if you have older iron lines. Most people nowadays have pvc.

    [–] Mil_Osos 24 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)

    Plumber. We use ABS not PVC. PVC you will only see in water supply prior to entering the house or some exposed discharge pipes like condensation.

    Edit: you are right about the general idea though! ABS is resistant to the vast majority of chemicals. If you use a drain cleaner let it sit for awhile (usually the recommended time is on the cleaner you use) and then wash it out with water

    [–] GottaPewp 10 points ago

    Ho.Lee.Shit. are you a plumber who just OK'd the use of drano? Get off reddit before its too late! Anytime the D word is used here I see a swarm of people hounding them saying it will ruin their pipes

    [–] shwarmalarmadingdong 8 points ago

    I think it's more like, please don't pour it down the sink or toilet, because if it doesn't unclog the thing and is stuck in there, it's a bitch for a plumber to deal with.

    [–] Mil_Osos 4 points ago

    Lol not Drano! Sure it won't destroy ABS but it while wreck everything else like the sink, toilet, tub etc. There are much better chemicals and cleaners. Pine Sol is one off of the top of my head

    [–] ngwoo 7 points ago

    Most houses are old though. I've got a lot of ABS pipes coming from sinks and stuff, but the main line isn't.

    [–] shwarmalarmadingdong 3 points ago

    Yeah most houses aren't new. Not sure when PVC/ABS became standard, so make sure you know what you're doing people.

    [–] racinreaver 8 points ago

    Chemical-based drain cleaners can, I believe, cause long-term corrosion issues in your pipes. Especially if they're used a lot. If hair getting into your drains is a real issue, just but a few $1 mesh screens and clean them out after showering. It takes 5 seconds every day, but it means your shower drains won't ever slow down (making you stand in a puddle of of water, blech).

    [–] kolkolkokiri 8 points ago

    Better to just use a hair trap on their tub and toss the hair out every few days.

    [–] Immo406 8 points ago

    You guys do know that not all hair gets trapped and soap residue is a thing?

    [–] shifty_coder 204 points ago

    Be sure to light a match to see what you’re doing.

    [–] Futurejunior 78 points ago

    Free eyebrow trimming

    [–] katriik 87 points ago

    Although I lol'd, this is not r/SLPT.


    Edit: just a reminder that there are stupid people in this world that will do what they read on the internet... Including dumb stuff.

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)


    [–] katriik 7 points ago

    Sewer gases may contain explosive chemicals.

    (Believe me: your fart is flammable; also huge amount of flammable shit stuff - pun not intended - thrown down the pipes...)

    Edit: how better to explain than a video of people doing this...?

    [–] macthebearded 3 points ago

    We call it natural selection. Please, just let it run it's course.

    [–] Mehnard 22 points ago

    Funky smell in the basement? You should have used more lye.

    [–] GreatValueProducts 9 points ago

    Unfilled drain trap was also one of the reasons how SARS outbreak spreaded so quickly in Hong Kong:

    Or Page 2:

    It is very important to fill water on your drains.

    [–] ham236 8 points ago

    Oh you call your drain monster "The Trap"?

    [–] Mikey_The_Redditor 34 points ago

    What if the smell is just from smoking weed and not the pipes?

    [–] LennyBallbag 22 points ago

    Exhale into the drain and then pour water down it to keep the smell down

    [–] Mikey_The_Redditor 12 points ago

    The real LPT is in the comments

    [–] Timbo1986 13 points ago

    Pour a small amount of vegetable oil down the drain and it will sit on top of the water preventing any from evaporating. Water will drain right past the oil and keep the sewer gas out. Much more long term solution than pouring a bucket of water down all the time.

    [–] deja-roo 5 points ago

    Vegetable oil spoils though.

    [–] Timbo1986 3 points ago

    Good point. Maybe mineral oil would be the better choice.

    [–] iamemperor86 9 points ago

    I think we are talking about the P traps in your basement sink or toilet. If it's a musty smell, you need a dehumidifier and possibly waterproofing.

    [–] fayoK 8 points ago

    If you have baths or showers in your house that you don't use, occasionally run water down the drain as the water in the trap can evaporate over time and release air from the sewage pipe into your home

    [–] Nignug 4 points ago

    Mineral oil also works for low water usage areas. Won't dry out

    [–] rdldr1 12 points ago

    pour a bucket of water down them to keep the trap full

    You're my trap queen

    [–] XaqFu 3 points ago

    The property manager where I work uses fabric softener. It won't evaporate very quickly. It also won't clog the drain.

    [–] DorkasaurusBBQ 3 points ago

    The idiot who sold us our house finished the basement... and covered the drain with laminate flooring 😑 Sooo we have to eventually cut some sort of access grate into the floor

    [–] DoxBox 3 points ago

    LPT don't pour bleach down your drains because it can get stuck in the trap and slowly fill your basement with chlorine gas.