I’d like you to meet Eddie Giese, P.E. He’s a graduate of the University of Maryland’s school of engineering, a licensed professional engineer, and a project manager. He spent several weeks over the summer of 2013 designing and constructing a water tank for a remote village in Burkina Faso, which is located in west Africa. He knows a thing or two about water systems and how they work.
He’s also my husband, so today I’m interviewing him here on the blog. I’m seeking answers to one of life’s more pressing questions:
Should people pee in the shower? Read on to find out.
Q: When people say it’s “green” to pee in the shower, are they insane or just hippies?
Q: But it’s a different drain, right? Is it safe for urine to go in those pipes?
A:That’s where you’re misinformed. The drain pipe(s) for the shower and toilet are ultimately tied together before they even leave your house (and likely even your bathroom) and, if you are on public sewer, leave your residence by way of a sanitary sewer lateral which then ties into a sanitary sewer main. From there, it’s on to the wastewater treatment plant. The water will have to be on, of course, but it’s as “safe” to pee in the shower as it is to go in the toilet.
Q: Will peeing in the shower erode the drain and/or pipes?
A: No worse than it would if you peed in the toilet.
Q: But, isn’t urine, like, acidic or something?
A: Uh, I think you need to ask a doctor on this one. But, I would bet it varies in pH from day to day.
Q: If ALL the drains go to the water treatment facility, does that mean I’m drinking recycled toilet water every time I get a glass of water from the kitchen sink?
A: Nope. That would be reclaimed water and it is not approved for human consumption although there are some locations in the country that use this for vegetation irrigation and the like. Typically, WasteWater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) must meet stringent EPA requirements for treated wastewater prior to outfalling into creeks and streams. Some of the WWTPs in Pennsylvania are among the best in the country due to the proximity to the Susquehanna River and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay – one of the nation’s most critical natural resources.
Q: Are you comfortable admitting whether or not you pee in the shower?
A: Urine luck. I have. See what I did there?