Toilets Are Not Trashcans Campaign

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NACWA's Toilets Are Not Trashcans campaign is focused on protecting the pipes, pumps, plants, and personnel of wastewater utilities across the nation by reducing the materials that are inappropriately flushed or drained into the sewer system.  Products such as wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products should not be flushed but often are, causing expensive problems for utilities.  Other consumer products contain ingredients, such as plastic microbeads and triclosan, may harm water quality and the environment.  FOG (fats, oils, and greases) and unused pharmaceuticals should also be kept out of the sewer system.

NACWA is working collaboratively with  other associations and groups to find common ground and safe solutions for both utilities and the environment.  The Association is advocating for elimination of harmful products and ingredients when possible and education of the public about proper disposal practices.  In addition, the Association is working with its members and other partners to create and support programs that continue to bring this vital issue to the forefront.

Utilities across the country are looking to educate their ratepayers on the appropriate disposal of these products and the NACWA Toilets Are Not Trashcans logo seen above may be used free of charge on any consumer education materials.  Please contact Bredy Trombino to download this logo.  If you would like more information about the Toilets Are Not Trashcans campaign, please contact Cynthia Finley.

Congress Considering an Appropriations Rider to Kill DC's Wipes Law

As Congress advances its FY2018 Appropriations Bills, Members are being lobbied by the nonwoven products industry to include a “rider” restricting the District of Columbia from expending any money to implement its Nonwoven Disposable Products Act of 2016, effectively killing this local law that was enacted by the D.C. Council. This law went into effect early this year, and requires “Do Not Flush” labeling on nonflushable wipes products sold in the District and establishment of standards for flushability. Congress is able to consider this action because the District is a federal city, with Home Rule authority but Congressional oversight.

NACWA has been actively reaching out to Congress since we learned about this industry effort and collaborating with NACWA member DC Water and the Water Environment Federation. We are very pleased to report that when the House Appropriations Committee considered this bill on July 13th a wipes amendment was offered but withdrawn. But, it’s possible the rider could resurface before the FY2018 Appropriations package is signed into law. 

NACWA urges any member agencies experiencing problems with wipes in their systems to reach out to their Members of Congress. This is a new issue that has not addressed by Congress before, and it is important they hear about the seriousness and scale of this costly and growing problem. While a FY2018 wipes rider may only impact the District of Columbia in the immediate term, it could put Congress on record as opposed to wipes labeling and/or flushability standards and may hinder future efforts at the local, state or federal levels.

Resources:

What's New

  • NACWA Staff provides testimony in support of Maryland wipes bill. 
  • The Federal Trade Commission recently finalized a consent order on with a manufacturer of "flushable" wipes that were not really flushable.  Read about this NACWA's The Water Voice.
  • NACWA is working with the wipes industry and other wastewater associations on updating flushability guidelines to ensure that wipes labeled "flushable" are truly safe to flush. 
  • A segment on The Dr. Oz Show (part 1 , part 2) focusing on flushable wipes aired on September 9, 2014.  The segment featured Dr. Oz's visit to a treatment plant of NACWA member agency the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to learn more about the problems wipes cause for wastewater utilities.  The segment also includes Cynthia Finley, NACWA's Director of Regulatory Affairs, as an in-studio guest on the show.