Here's Where Your Waste Actually Goes When You Flush The Toilet On An Airplane

When you go to the bathroom on a plane, there is a special place where your poop goes, and — spoiler alert — it's not dumped into the sky. While you may not realize it, there is a secret compartment that keeps sewage contained until it's ready to be offloaded along with passengers at the destination. These waste tanks are usually in the back of the plane, and they are specially sealed to ensure they're as safe as everything else aboard at high altitudes.

The toilets on an airplane utilize two types of systems — the closed waste system and the vacuum waste system. The dramatic noise that is emitted when you flush is created by the vacuum waste system, powerfully sucking the water into the sewage tank and leaving nothing behind. It may sound like your waste is being catapulted into the airspace, but it is actually a very bad idea for planes to release waste while flying, as it can create big problems. 

Airplane waste isn't dumped in flight

Sewage tanks are usually emptied at the airport, and many airplanes feature a latch outside to pump sewage out. Because of this system, there generally isn't a way to intentionally dump waste while in the air by the crew. Also, even if they could, leaked sewage can create problems for other aircraft, as it can be sucked into their engines and damage the fan blades, which has happened on several occasions.

While it is very unusual that sewage is dumped while in the air, it can happen by accident. Even though this is usually just a small amount, occasionally waste can leak, freeze, and fall to Earth. Due to the chemicals, the frozen, blue-colored waste is known as "blue ice." According to the BBC, this happened to a couple living in the English city of Leicester when their roof was damaged by ice made from urine that dropped out of the sky. However, what happened to them is a rare event. So if you are hit by something wet from the sky, it's probably bird poop, and not human.