MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: Why do toilets on cruise ships flush so loudly and violently?

Date: Mon Nov 20 09:00:29 2000
Posted By: John Metcalfe, Staff, Computing and Information Services, Texas A&M University at Galveston
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 973213164.Eg

Hi Mary,
Actually it's for a couple of reasons.  The first is that on most ships 
the toilets (heads) and the rest of the "black" water system are tied into 
the same salt water system as the fire hoses (for the incoming water).  
Because of this, they're under higher pressure than what you are probably 
used to.  Secondly, due to the fact that ships aren't a steady platform 
(they pitch and roll with the waves), the septic system has kind of a 
vacumn acting on it that sucks the water out of the toilets.  Depending on 
the ship, this may be a natural effect, or it might be a mechanical system.

Hope this answered your question.

John Metcalfe
3rd Mate Oceans (Unlimited) 
US Merchant Marine

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