How Plumbing Saved the World & Why Plumbers Are Heroes

PLumbing Heros

When you think about superheroes, hardly anyone envisions a plumber. But maybe we should.

Through the years, plumbers and plumbing systems have saved the world time and time again. In fact, life as we know it wouldn’t exist without the invention of sewer systems, running water, indoor toilets, and more. Even more significant: More than 25 debilitating and deadly diseases are the result of poor sanitation and contaminated water. The list includes cholera, typhoid, amoebic dysentery, campylobacter enteritis, giardia, Guinea worm, and more.

Each of these ailments can be prevented with proper sanitation and plumbing services like those provided by professional plumbers like those at Vail Plumbing in Tucson, AZ. So be sure to think about a plumber the next time you hear about someone suffering from schistosomiasis, bacillary dysentery (shigellosis), or Escherichia Coli diarrhea. Because you live in an area with professional plumbers, you don't have to deal with these deadly diseases. You simply need to contact us online or give us a call at 520-217-1292 to get the help you need.

Still not convinced that plumbers like those at Vail Plumbing are heroes? Read on ...

Plumbing Saved London From a Cholera Epidemic in the 1800s

Plumbing system is saving the world time and time again

In the 1800s, London had little in the way of plumbing infrastructure. No other communities did either. Instead, communal wells were the source of drinking water and waste was disposed of either in “cesspools” or dumped into the Thames River (also a source of drinking water). In the late 1840s, a sudden outbreak of Cholera hit the people of Soho, a London suburb. Overnight, 500 people died. Over the course of 10 days, the death toll rose to 50,000 men, women, and children.

This tragedy led to a significant discovery by Dr. John Snow, the father of epidemiology and the individual most responsible for helping Londoners eliminate cholera by creating a system of wells and water pipes that would have to be kept isolated from drains, cesspools, and sewers. In short, Snow invented the world's first plumbing system. And it worked wonderfully!

An excerpt from a study commissioned by the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA shed additional details about Dr. John Snow and his important discovery. The entire story, which would have a profound impact on the importance of plumbing systems in the modern world, is detailed below:

"In August of 1849, during the second year of the epidemic, Snow felt obliged to share what he considered convincing evidence that cholera was being spread through contaminated water. At his own expense, he published a pamphlet entitled On the Mode of Communication of Cholera. Thirty-nine pages in length, the essay contained both a reasoned argument and documentary evidence to support his theory. As one example he cited the case of two rows of houses in a London neighborhood that faced each other. In one row many residents became cholera victims, while in the other row only one person was afflicted. It was discovered, Snow wrote, that in the former bowl, the slops of dirty water, poured down by the inhabitants into a channel in front of the houses, got into the well from which they obtained their water. Snow realized that such conditions existed in many neighborhoods and that if cholera epidemics were ever going to be eliminated, wells and water pipes would have to be kept isolated from drains, cesspools, and sewers."

Impact of Potable Water in Rwanda Refugee Camps, 1994

In 1993 and 1994, civil wars devastated Burundi and Rwanda and led to the displacement of millions. In April 1994, approximately 500,000 refugees from Rwanda crossed the border into Tanzania while approximately 1 million crossed into neighboring Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC).

Those fleeing to Tanzania were met with drinking and potable water, non-perishable food, latrines, and transportation systems provided by 15 non-governmental organizations and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The country of Zaire, however, was unprepared for the large influx of refugees and were unable to supply proper water and sanitation resources. Human waste built up in the same areas where the refugees drew water that was used for cooking and drinking. Heavy rain flooded the area and dysentery became an epidemic where non-potable water was an issue.

As a result, thousands of refugees died after thinking they have made the long trek to safety. By using explosives, French troops blasted six mass graves in the volcanic rock to bury the thousands of bodies piled up along the roadsides, according to a New York Times report. Without clean water, the refugees had to scoop polluted water from Lake Kivu, leading to the epidemic. The death toll did not diminish until the U.S. sent water purification plants and latrines to the area on aircraft carriers. This allowed the refugees to create some semblances of a plumbing system that significantly reversed the death toll.

The Power Of Plumbing is Real & Relevant Today

These are only two of countless incidents where plumbing saved people’s lives throughout the course of history. Often, we underestimate the power of plumbing in today's modern world. But if we stopped to think of our world without sewer drainage, filtered water, indoor plumbing, and other essentials for civilized living, we would offer significant thanks to the guys wearing tool belts from Vail Plumbing that fix our toilets in our hour of need. Thank you, plumbers, for all you do to make our lives better. You truly are heroes who have helped save the world!

When you need help with These are only two of countless, contact Vail Plumbing online or give us a call at 520-217-1292.

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