Not Your Mother’s Local Plumbing: How Plumbing Has Changed

You may not have ever thought about the origins of the plumbing systems in your home, but the early days of plumbing are actually quite interesting. The development of our plumbing systems traces back to the ancient civilizations of Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians and Chinese. The word “plumbing” comes from the Latin word for lead, which is “plumbum.”

Back in the ancient civilizations, people developed public baths as a way to provide potable water and drainage of waste for a large number of people. By 2700 B.C., plumbing pipes using asphalt to prevent leaks were appearing in urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization. Many thousands of years after that, plumbing consisted of aqueducts and lead pipes, and waste material was dumped on the ground or in rivers.

It wasn’t until the growth of large cities in the 1800s that better waste disposal systems were developed to prevent disease. It was the eventual development of underground water and sewage systems that eliminated open sewage ditches.

Today’s Plumbing: How We’ve Advanced

In our developed world of today, we can’t imagine dumping waste material in rivers or just anywhere on the ground. Today, solid waste in most large cities is piped to sewage treatment plants where it is kept separate from potable water. Until about the 1960s, iron piping was commonplace in the United States until copper piping began to be used and is still what is used today because the use of lead for potable water put people at risk for lead poisoning, a fact that was realized after World War II.

In the early years of the ancient civilizations, water systems used pipes or channels made of clay, lead, bamboo, wood, or stone to supply water. Pipes were made of hollowed out wooden logs wrapped in steel banding.

Today’s local plumbing systems use a network of high-pressure pumps to supply water. And no more wood pipes; today’s pipes are made of copper, brass or plastic. And drain lines are made of plastic, steel, cast-iron, or lead. Lead was banned for use in drinking water in the U.S. in 1986 due to the dangers associated with lead poisoning.

When you look back at how people used to survive, you can’t help but feel lucky to have the outstanding technology and expertise and experience of professional plumbers in Phoenix that are available today.

Home plumbing issues like a clogged drain, broken water heater, poor-tasting drinking water can all be fixed by just making one easy phone call to local plumbing experts Chas Roberts Air Conditioning & Plumbing. To schedule an appointment with one of their licensed, experienced plumbers in Phoenix, visit or call (602) 943-3426.