New international flushability standards released

The International Water Services Flushability Group (IWSFG), a group of dedicated water professionals seeking to protect customers by providing clear guidance on what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, released its official Flushability Specifications, in an effort to curb the problem of improperly flushed objects; a widespread problem that causes countless sewer disruptions and tens of millions of dollars in maintenance costs every year.

The new guidance looks to curb multi-million-dollar damages caused by improperly-flushed products, the costs of which are paid for by every day consumers.

The Publicly Available Specifications (PAS), first developed in September 2016, were updated this year in response to evolving challenges and public affairs issues. The PAS seeks to address the key aspects of the International Water Industry Statement on Flushability, signed by more than 250 water organizations worldwide, which states that to be “flushable” a product must:

  1. Break into small pieces quickly;
  2. Not be buoyant;
  3. Not contain plastic or regenerated cellulose but only contain materials which will readily degrade in a range of natural environments.

The updated PAS, which can be downloaded online, deems products suitable for flushing down the toilet if the products meet five criteria, each of which are connected to exhaustive tests that are detailed in the PAS: (1) Environmental protection, (2) toilet and drain line clearance, (3) disintegration, (4) settling and (5) bio disintegration.

The PAS underwent several rounds of public comment in order to ensure that the PAS standards were both realistic and accepted worldwide. Critical comments were received by both water and wipe manufacturing organizations.

About the International Water Services Flushability Group

Internationally, water service providers, and the associations and organizations representing them, share a common goal to reduce the problems caused by the inappropriate disposal of customer products down the toilet.  The International Water Services Flushability Group (IWSFG) is a group of water associations, utilities, and professionals seeking to provide clear guidance on what should and should not be flushed down the toilet to protect customers, wastewater systems, their workers, and the environment.


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