Thanks to Our Plumbers

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Thanks to Our Plumbers

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We at General Pipe Cleaners hope that all of you are well and staying safe during these extraordinary times. For many of you, this is a daily challenge, because you’re doing a lot of heavy lifting, ensuring that the rest of us have the freshwater and clean conditions that we need to fight COVID-19. Although you don’t always get mentioned along with the health care professionals, police, fire fighters and grocery workers, your work protecting and maintaining the nation’s plumbing infrastructure may be the most important service being performed during this crisis.

Normally, when we think of preventing disease, the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry gets all the praise. Drugs such as penicillin and other antibiotics have revolutionized our ability to fight infections and illness, and vaccines give us the power to eradicate diseases, such as smallpox and polio, that terrorized our grandparents. However, if you speak to any physician, they’ll quote you Ben Franklin’s proverb that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. If you can keep from getting sick in the first place, you’re much better off, even when your doctor has miracle drugs in their bag of tricks.

This pandemic is a great example of this axiom. After all, there is no cure and no vaccine for COVID-19. All of the CDC’s recommendations focus on preventive measures. Wash your hands with soap and clean water often. Don’t touch your face. Wear a clean mask to prevent spreading the virus if you happen to be infectious without symptoms. And wash that mask at least every day. Hand sanitizer. Social distance. Common sense. 

The concept that the plumbing industry understands about this pandemic better than anyone is that none of these preventive measures would be possible without the availability of clean water and an effective sewage system. Water is essential for life. The first thing that the Roman Empire did after conquering a region was to link it to their network of roads, many of which still exist today. The second thing they did was build aqueducts to provide freshwater. These systems were similar to our own potable water systems, gravity driven, completely sealed off from the sewage removal systems that they built at the same time. Again, many of these engineering wonders still exist today, reminding us of the wisdom of our ancestors. 

But the Romans did not invent plumbing; they were just building on more ancient technology from traditions going back thousands of years. The Sumerian and Indus Valley civilizations, which flourished over 5,000 years ago, both had impressive city states that provided freshwater to their citizens from aqueducts, canals and tunnels. Wells and public baths were available in order to protect the health of the city. Even more remarkable was that they engineered highly efficient sewage systems that maintained the separation of potable water and sewage. Some homes built during the dawn of our history even had flushing toilets.

Unfortunately, freshwater and toilets have not been the norm for the whole of human history. And there are huge parts of our planet where it is not the norm right now. It is estimated by health professionals that half of all the hospital beds occupied in the developing world are the result of poor plumbing. Where freshwater is not available and where sewage cannot be disposed of properly, disease is the result. In areas where there is a well-maintained plumbing infrastructure, sanitary conditions emerge and disease fades into the background of history.  

It’s undoubtably true that plumbing has saved more lives than every physician ever born. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Thank you for everything you’re doing to protect the health of the nation.

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