Taking a shower, pouring a drink of tap water, flushing the toilet – most of us take these activities for granted.
That’s all thanks to advances in modern plumbing, which allows us to enjoy these everyday conveniences.
In 2010, the World Plumbing Council (WPC) established March 11 as World Plumbing Day to raise awareness of the importance of plumbing and the impact it has on our lives.
Here’s why all of us should celebrate.
A History of Plumbing
Plumbing has existed in some form since 312 B.C., when the Romans used aqueducts to carry 1.2 billion liters of water daily to supply Rome with fresh water, according to Plumbing Manufacturers International.
Plumbing advances, though, took a step back in the 5th century following the collapse of the Roman empire. Poor sanitation and dirty drinking water led to the spread of deadly diseases and poor living conditions.
READ MORE: A Brief History of Plumbing
It would be another thousand years before Queen Elizabeth I installed the first flushing toilet in England. The inventor of that toilet -- her godson, Sir John Harrington – is the inspiration for the slang term “john” for toilet.
More modern plumbing systems also began to take shape in the colonies, with Boston building the country’s first citywide water system for fire brigades in 1652. But the most significant advances in plumbing in America came in the 1800s. Philadelphia was the first city to make the switch to cast iron pipes for water delivery in 1804, and Chicago was the first city to build a major sewer system in 1855. But indoor plumbing didn’t become widespread in this country until the next century.
Why is Plumbing So Important?
While most U.S. homes have indoor plumbing today, that’s not the case in many parts of the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, don’t have home access to safe water, leading to serious health and environmental consequences. Six in 10 people don’t have toilets in their houses. WHO estimates that 361,000 children under the age of five die each year as a result of contaminated water.
Things are improving, though. Between 2000 and 2015, more than a billion people gained access to piped water supplies, according to the WPC. And in that same time frame, the number of people defecating in public declined by an average of 22 million people per year.
Why We Need Trained Plumbers
Plumbing is highly regulated and has been since 1926, when the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials was founded. Plumbers, many of whom complete apprenticeships lasting several years, learn how to manage waste correctly and protect against water contamination to keep you and your family safe. They’re your go to professional when you need someone to fix or install piping systems and equipment.
Our team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is here to help you with all your plumbing needs, all year long. Call the experts at (888) BEN-1776 or request an appointment online.