Airplane toilet: what happens to the wastewater during the flight?

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Thousands of times, the toilet is flushed on an average medium-haul flight. This legitimately raises the question: what happens to all that wastewater?

The workings of an airplane pose numerous mysteries if only starting with the toilets and especially what happens to the wastewater. We’ll answer the question that has always been on your mind. Or maybe you’re interested in why we’re supposed to put our smartphones in flight mode during the flight.

No, it doesn’t go straight into the air.
Back then, people used a blue liquid sanitizer to carry toilet waste straight out of the plane. The problem with that?

Often, sizeable blue ice lumps would form, and frozen excrement would hang from the plane. Not very hygienic and especially not for those who had to clean the aircraft.

Today, all toilet waste remains on board. With the help of a powerful vacuum system, they are sucked into tanks in the back of the plane. Thanks to a non-stick coating on the toilet system, all the waste comes off without much resistance and is transported to the tanks in no time.

Once the plane has landed, the tanks must be emptied, or it won’t be able to take off again. That’s where the so-called “honey truck” comes in. It is one of the first vehicles to come to the aircraft once it has landed.

This truck has an 800-litre stainless steel tank and a suction pump that empties the aircraft’s tanks within ten minutes and disinfects them for the next flight. The truck’s load is then taken to the wastewater treatment plant, completing the circle.

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