NACWA applauds Senate bill on labeling of non-flushable products

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has expressed its support for the introduction of the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety (WIPPES) Act. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and will set important federal standards for the labeling of non-flushable products.  

“On behalf of the hundreds of publicly-owned treatment works NACWA represents nationwide, I applaud Sens. Collins and Merkley for their bipartisan legislation to require Do Not Flush labeling on non-flushable wet wipes,” said NACWA CEO Adam Krantz. “Non-flushable wipes do not break down as they travel through the sewer system, resulting in clogs and blockages that cost public utilities money, put workers at risk, and cause environmental harm. Simply put, Toilets are Not Trashcans.

“The Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Act would require labeling for non-flushable wet wipes, a reasonable approach to protect homeowners, wastewater infrastructure and the environment. NACWA looks forward to working with Congress to advance this important legislation.”

Final bill text can be found here. Final bill summary can be found here.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, and NACWA said it looks forward to working with both the House and Senate to advance this legislation to final passage. NACWA also has a webpage dedicated to advocacy and education around non-flushable products and the impact on municipal clean water systems.

The issue of wipes has been one that has plagued the wastewater sector for years and has exacerbated the problem of sewer system and grinder pump clogging. Wipes — such as baby wipes and those used for cleaning — are made of nonwoven fabrics, and manufacturers have generally attempted to design them so they can be flushed. But NACWA told Water Finance & Management in 2019 that although many brands of wipes label their products as “flushable,” many do not break down in the same manner as, say, toilet paper.

Source: NACWA

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