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Elements of a Drainage System, Explained


How Drainage Works

Humans produce a lot of waste in their homes, and it has to go somewhere. In the United States and across the world, we’ve developed systems that effectively and safely remove waste from households. These technological advancements have made matters safer and more productive.

That said, here’s what to know about the different parts of drainage and waste systems:


When we think of drains, we’re probably just concerned about the spout at the bottom of the sink (and whether or not water is going down fast enough). But drains are the gateway that waste travels through when we no longer need it.

Drains are one of the only visible parts of the drainage system and are customizable based on your needs. And they’re probably the easiest part of the system to explain, maintain, and repair. Most problems occur deeper in the system. And if something doesn’t fit down the drain spout, it probably shouldn’t go through the rest of the system, either.

Each drain location has a connected pipe that all contribute to the main line.


Pipes take all waste from your home, through the drainage system, to its final destination. These are some of the most crucial pieces of your home plumbing system. They bring you clean H2O when you need it and carry away wastewater.

Pipelines are known for durability, though they may need a repair here and there. Taking care of your pipes ensures costly repairs and lessening the chances of emergency bursts from happening.


The trap in your piping is the unsung hero of home comfort. It prevents sewer smells and waste from climbing back up into your drains.

Traps are usually found right under the sink around one of the curved pipes. The curved tube allows for water to collect and create a “seal.” If left unused for too long, the water may evaporate, and foul smells will get through.

You’ll also see a trap behind your toilet with a similar curved pipeline. This performs a similar function to under the sink, preventing backup into the toilet.

If you notice gaseous odors, there may be an issue with your drain traps. Always call a professional plumber to address these problems right away.


You’ll see vents coming out of the top of your home, through your roof. These allow pipes to flow freely without the constant need to siphon them. When air comes into the lines, wastewater can move throughout the system autonomously. It also prevents contaminants from entering the pipeline.


Have you ever thought about the role gravity plays in removing waste from your home? That’s where pitch comes in. Pitch is the angle where water flows and can move with gravity.

Using pitch as the primary source of waste removal requires particular circumstances for your property. Talk with a local plumber to see if this is the best option for you.


Once wastewater enters the sewer line, it becomes part of a more extensive waste management system, usually handled by a local municipality. It starts with your sewer line.

The sewer line connects from underneath your home and usually runs underground to the main sewer line, where the municipality takes over. (These are accessed by the large grates in the road that say “sewer.”)

All homes and businesses connected to the main sewer line will contribute waste to the system. When it reaches the main sewer line, the waste then moves to a treatment plant. While these vary, it generally organizes and treats waste to remove contaminants. The treated water is then released into the environment when deemed safe.

Sewer & Drain Cleaning in San Dimas

With one call to Alpine Plumbing and Rooter, you can solve all your plumbing problems. We specialize in drain cleaning and sewer repair. Contact us today for reliable and expert service.

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