Can The Coriolis Effect Make Your Toilet Flush In Opposite Directions? Sewer Myth or Fact Video Part 3

Sewer Service
January 19, 2021

by David Balkan


Very few people know what the Coriolis Effect is, which is also known as the Coriolis Force Effect. This phenomenon is part of this episode of the Balkan video challenge “Sewer Myth or Fact Part 3”. The coriolis effect, and if a toilet will flush in different directions, may be of interest to you. However, whether items labelled as flushable are truly flushable is pretty important for you to know. In part 3 of our video series I’ll attempt to stump Christina with these sewer myth or fact questions, and she will frequently stump me as well! So let’s get on with this episode and see what we all learn.

Does the Coriolis Effect Make Water Run In Different Directions?

Dave Balkan: So Christina, truth or myth? When you flush your toilet in the Northern hemisphere, it will flush in one direction, right? But now if you’re down, like on the South pole, flushing your toilet, right. It’s going to flush in the opposite direction. Truth or myth?

Christina: I think that’s truth.

Dave Balkan: Got ya! Myth. Because when plumbing fixtures are designed that the water flows in a certain direction, it will continue to flow in that direction no matter what hemisphere you’re in.

Christina: Oh, because it’s a toilet, okay then.

Dave Balkan: But now let me give you part B. Okay, right, if you just had say a bucket of water and you put a hole in the bottom, right. If you’re on the Northern hemisphere and you do that, on the Southern hemisphere and do that, will the water drain out in the opposite direction?

Christina: That’s a hard one. If we’re following the theory of the plumbing I would say, I think that’s a myth.

Dave Balkan: Oh, see, you changed your answer. If the plumbing isn’t designed where the water flows in a certain direction, it will flow in an opposite direction. If you just put a hole in the bottom of a bucket, and I have it written down here, that’s called the Coriolis Effect, the Coriolis Force Effect. Christina, do you know why I know that?

Christina: Why do you know that?

Dave Balkan: Because I had to look it up!

Christina: That’s why you know that!

The Coriolis Force Effect

If an Item says it’s Flushable, is it Flushable?

Dave Balkan: All right Christina, here’s a good question. If you have item an item, or items, another sewer truth or myth, and they say they’re safe to flush and they’re flushable. So you can flush them, right?

Christina: A myth. Wipes, for example, it says flushable, if they can’t break apart like toilet tissue does, don’t flush them.

Dave Balkan: You are good. That is exactly spot on. Only toilet paper and tissue paper and go down your toilet. You just said it – all these things, other items, that say they’re flushable, you’re a thousand percent right! No, they’re not. No, they’re not flushable. Throw them in the garbage pail. Check!

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

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