Full Washerhelp article: This page is part of an article on connecting a washing machine - How to connect up a washing machine
The householder is responsible for damage to the environment even if they didn't do the plumbing - here's how to check your plumbing is legal
This diagram shows two houses. The one on the left is correctly connected up because -
- The waste (foul) water from the bathroom, kitchen, washing machine and dishwasher (shown in red) all run into the main sewer where they can be treated at the sewerage plant
- The rain water (shown in blue) runs from the gutters into surface water drains and then in to local rivers and streams
The house on the right has most of its connections correct, but the washing machine and dishwasher are pumping out into the surface water drainage system (marked with red crosses), which is the drain at the bottom of the fall pipe for the guttering. This water goes directly to our rivers. Chemicals from detergent and other foul contaminants are polluting and harming the wildlife in our rivers.
Make sure that
Only rain water from guttering should run into the surface water drains, no other pipe should be connected to one of these drains, and no other pipe should run into the grate at the bottom of the guttering fall pipe unless it's just carrying rain water.
Conversely, rain water from the guttering cannot be connected to the main sewage and waste water pipe either because that can cause flooding during heavy rainfall. The system isn't designed to cope with that.
If any other plumbing pipe runs into one of the drains at the bottom of a fall pipe taking water from the roof, then may be allowing contaminated water to run untreated into your local rivers.
See another helpful diagram - plumbing misconnections 2
How to make sure you have no misconnections
- Look at the large 4 inch stack pipe on the outside of your home where the toilet is connected. All your waste water plumbing should run into this pipe. No guttering fall pipe should be connected to it.
- Look at the guttering on your house. At the bottom of the guttering there is usually a grate. Only rainwater from the roof should run into this grate or be connected to this fall pipe. No plumbing from the washing machine, sink, bath, toilet or dishwasher should be connected in such a way that it runs into this pipe and grate.
- One of the most likely places for a misconnection is when a washing machine is installed in a garage or other out building. The only "drain" available may well be the storm drain for the roof gutter and someone may have unwittingly plumbed the washing machine to pump detergent and other harmful chemicals directly into local rivers.
If you do have a misconnection the householder is responsible for putting it right. Get the advice and services of a good qualified plumber.
According to the department responsible for looking into this issue, "most customers who have been found to have misconnections are horrified. Many are committed to recycling and other environmental issues and it's a nasty shock to think they have been unwittingly contributing to pollution".
- How to connect up a washing machine (Main article)
- Misconnections 2 diagram
- Is your washing machine or dishwasher connected to the plumbing properly? Are you sure? (White goods Blog article)