How Much Waste Can a Plane hold?
At this point, you might be wondering just how large these holding tanks are, and how much waste can they manage? The answer is around 20 gallons per tank, with the overall capacity on the larger commercial planes being around 100 gallons – that’s 5 tanks per plane.
Cleaning the Tanks
The tanks are not a “set and forget” system. They have to continually be cleaned and empties. That happens each time the plane lands, where a crew (a lavatory service truck) hooks up with the tank and empties its content into the truck.
The System Was Invented by James Kemper
All innovators need to be remembered by name, and James Kemper is no different – he is the guy that invented the vacuum toilet system used in modern airplanes. He invented the system during the 1970s, with the system still being in use today.
Before the Kemper System
The Kemper vacuum toilet system changed air travel for millions of people. Before his system, passengers had to use slosh buckets, which could either get spilled in the bathroom during turbulence or chucked out of the window mid-flight.
Boeing Was the First to Use the System
Boeing was the first company to use Kepler’s system on their airplanes. This happened in 1982, meaning it took several years for the invention to get adapted to commercial use. The system relied on a blue liquid call Skykem to help the suction process.