Both public and domestic toilet design is becoming increasingly technologically driven, with automatic flushes and sensor-controlled washing-and-drying facilities becoming commonplace. In parallel, environmental sustainability requirements to save water have resulted in a range of dual-flush cisterns, waterless urinals, and human-waste recycling innovations. High levels of toilet provision in every home, along with highly developed sewerage systems, are no longer necessarily seen as signs of progress and economic development. Such assumptions are now being questioned. Many parts of the world are not economically or environmentally in a position to build modern, expensive water and sewerage systems: It is not a high priority. Water is becoming an increasingly expensive and scarce resource; some see it as “the new oil” in terms of future geopolitical tensions. Far from being a sign of economic development, many see the emphasis upon water-based sewerage systems and flushing toilets as old fashioned, colonial, and unsustainable. Instead, new, more sustainable solutions are being developed, especially within prosperous advanced Asian countries that can afford such research. Such systems will incorporate the most modern technological and scientific advances in the fields of engineering, pathogen control, and urban governance (Chun 2002; Mara 2006).
Much like how plumbers, electricians, and other tradesmen install and service other equipment in a home. — Tom Warren, The Verge, "Former Alexa smart home chief and Windows Media Center founder joins Control4," 2 Aug. 2018 And those who live and work here had the same problems, along with closed schools, canceled surgeries at hospitals and long wait times to schedule plumbers. — Jennifer Larino, NOLA.com, "Spirit adding nonstop flight from New Orleans to Atlantic City in April," 19 Jan. 2018 Robots won’t eat all the jobs, says Marco Zappacosta, the CEO and co-founder of Thumbtack, a marketplace for service professionals from plumbers to yoga teachers to personal trainers. — Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "Why the robot apocalypse won’t kill all gig economy jobs," 16 June 2018 Most people will accept spending $80/hour on a plumber, but balk at putting a similar price tag on the value of their company’s website. — Jenny Knizner, USA TODAY, "Fundamentals of hiring a freelance designer for your business," 19 Mar. 2018 Then a team of plumbers begins restarting the system around St. Patrick’s Day, with the aim of having all outdoor water features back up and running by Memorial Day weekend. — Keith Williams, New York Times, "It’s Hot. How Do I Get the Spray Shower at the Park to Work?," 19 June 2018 The full-time employees losing their jobs include electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other skilled tradespeople needed to operate and maintain a large events venue. — James B. Nelson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Many long-time Bradley Center workers will not have jobs at the new Bucks arena," 11 May 2018 There are female plumbers, taxi-drivers and bartenders. — The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 That is a huge departure from construction sites, where unions representing plumbers, electricians, carpenters and various other trades each control their piece of the building process. — Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "Piece by Piece, a Factory-Made Answer for a Housing Squeeze," 7 June 2018
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Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters may use many different materials and construction techniques, depending on the type of project. Residential water systems, for example, use copper, steel, and plastic pipe that one or two plumbers can install. Power plant water systems, by contrast, are made of large steel pipes that usually take a crew of pipefitters to install. Some workers install stainless steel pipes on dairy farms and in factories, mainly to prevent contamination.
Where plumbing had been a mostly locally regulated matter for most of its history, the federal government became involved in the early 1990s. Until the 1950s, toilets generally used five or more gallons per flush (GPF). During the decades that followed, the plumbing industry reduced the standard volume for toilet flush tanks to 3.5 gallons. A further reduction in volume resulted from the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which in the name of conservation mandated that all new toilets made in the United States must use no more than 1.6 GPF. The same legislation also regulated the flow in shower heads and faucets. Although the first low-flow toilets proved un-satisfactory and were met with public disapproval, redesigned equipment employing new technology has removed most objections.
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Plumbing—from fixtures to vent pipes—in high-rise buildings and skyscrapers duplicated that used in other structures, but with the addition of several unique features. As gravity-fed city mains generally lift water no more than five or six stories, electrically operated pumps raise it to elevated storage tanks beyond that point. Water levels in the tanks are maintained automatically. Water is supplied from them throughout the structure by gravity, air pressure, or booster pumps. Likewise, gravity removes waste water by way of drainage pipes.
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