Home Technology What happens when you flush the toilet in an airplane? 

What happens when you flush the toilet in an airplane? 


Have wondered how toilet wastes are disposed off in the plane? Have you had thoughts like is the waste kept in a temporary container until it is emptied after the plane landed or is it spat out into the air during the flight? 

According to Gizmodo, the airplane sewage technology that has been used for the last 30 years stores the waste on the airplane in a 200 gallon tank for the duration of the flight.

First installed by Boeing in 1982, vacuum toilets rely on strong suction and slick walls to pull waste away using just a fraction of a gallon of water. 

Pressing the flush button opens a valve in the bottom of the bowl, exposing the contents to a pneumatic vacuum. That vac sucks the load down the plane’s sewer line into a 200-gallon holding tank—vapors and all. A Teflon-like non-stick coating around the inside of the bowl assists in the transfer. 

Then, waste remains in the tank for the duration of the flight, and it’s vacuumed out by crews on the ground. An exterior latch on the holding tank ensures that pilots don’t accidentally drop a load in mid-air.

James Kemper patented the loud vacuum toilets we use today.

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