3 Reasons Why Plumbing is Even More Important Than You Thought

3 Reasons Why Plumbing is Even More Important Than You Thought (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

We all know that plumbers are important when it comes time to install a new toilet or replace a problem pipe. But did you know that plumbers have actually been some of the most important people in history?

OK, so maybe we’re a little bit biased. But still, plumbers have always made a difference in times of crisis, no matter how big or small.

For instance, did you know that plumbing has directly helped stem the rise of diseases both at home and abroad throughout history? It’s true! You can thank a plumber for…

Stopping a Cholera Outbreak in London

Throughout the 1800s, London had little in the way of modern plumbing. Drinking water came from communal pumps and wells while waste water got dumped directly into the Thames River or large cesspools. Cholera – which causes diarrhea and vomiting and can kill extremely quickly – spreads easily through contaminated water. It was a recipe for a disaster that finally struck in the 1850s, when a cholera outbreak in the city led to the deaths of thousands.

Fortunately, Dr. John Snow was able to trace the outbreak to the source: the Broad Street Pump. Once the city addressed the pump, along with its larger issues with waste in the water supply, the outbreak soon stalled.

Reducing Dysentery Rates in Africa

Sadly, poor living conditions in refugee camps can make safe havens into a home for diseases of all kinds. That’s exactly what happened in Zaire in the 1990s, when Rwandan refugee camps saw human waste build up in the same common water sources used for cooking and drinking. During a period of heavy rains and flooding, cross-contamination led to a virulent dysentery outbreak.

Rates of dysentery fell after UN officials brought purified drinking water and updated plumbing systems – including new outhouses and latrines – to the camp, saving hundreds of lives.

Adjusting for Population Growth in Chicago

Have you ever wondered about the plumbing in our city? It’s responsible for saving thousands of lives and creating the vibrant community that we know today.

The industrial revolution of the nineteenth century saw a massive population boom in Chicago – to the point where plumbing standards were totally inadequate. As the population continued to swell, more and more waste entered Lake Michigan. When that same Lake Michigan water was used for drinking and cooking, the city saw a rise in disease rates, particularly Typhoid fever.

By the 1900s, advances in plumbing and water infrastructure led to a massive drop in rates of Typhoid fever and other water-borne illnesses.

There’s no denying we’ve come a long way from stone tubs and wash basins. In our modern world, plumbing is vital for all kinds of reasons. If you’re having an issue, big or small, give J. Blanton Plumbing a call! We’re here day and night to get your kitchen, bath, and HVAC back on track.