The aircraft lavatory and wastewater system is quite interesting, making it possible to have a functioning restroom for passengers while traveling at extreme altitudes. While there are rumors that waste is simply dumped out of the aircraft during flight, this is simply not true. Rather, the wastewater system relies on a transfer chain and various assemblies to effectively and cleanly function. In this blog, we will discuss how the airplane water and wastewater system functions, allowing you to better understand how lavatory service is provided while in flight.
For any water to be used on an aircraft, it has to first be supplied. With the use of a water truck, potable water is pumped through a check valve that is situated under the aircraft wings. With the truck supply hose, water is then directed from the truck and is pumped into a water tank within the fuselage. With the implementation of sensors within the tank, cabin crew members can effectively monitor the amount of potable water that is present. With the use of an electric pump, water can efficiently be delivered to various areas such as the galley, washbasin, and lavatory.
Aircraft faucets are often present in multiple areas such as the lavatory and galley, both of which are supplied with potable water. The toilets found in many aircraft are vacuum toilet types, utilizing little to no water for flushing. When any waste is removed from aircraft toilets, it will be directed into a sewage holding tank for storage during the flight. While the water supplied by the water system is considered to be potable, it should not be consumed as there is a chance of bacterial contamination stemming from the tank, faucet, or ground servicing. As such, passengers are always provided with bottled water for drinking.
The greywater that is collected by the wastewater system is often ejected from the aircraft through the drain mast. With heating, the water is prevented from freezing and will typically evaporate within the atmosphere. To prevent any chance of depressurization within the aircraft during the expulsion of such water, an air stop valve is used.
While greywater is released during flight, this does not include any waste that sources from a vacuum toilet. This waste is collected and transferred to a holding tank, the toilet utilizing pressure differentials for removing waste. To assist in the cleaning of the toilet bowl, a little water may be used. Within the holding tank, sanitizing liquids dilute and deodorize waste, and a dedicated lavatory service truck functions to remove the waste from the aircraft once it is safely landed on the runway. With the waste placed within the lavatory service truck, it will then be transferred for a dedicated depository for processing.
While the wastewater systems of modern aircraft work well, they are seeing continual improvements as more technologies are discovered. In the future, lavatories may be self-cleaning through the use of UV light, quieter with improved vacuum toilets, and self-activated with automated technology. If you find yourself in need of various water system parts, wastewater system components, or other such items, let the experts at Purchasing Efficiency help you secure all you require with competitive pricing and lead-times.
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