NACWA participated in a July 10 press conference organized by Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the District of Columbia’s non-voting member in the House of Representatives, to defend local DC laws from being blocked or overturned by riders added to the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill. These local laws include DC’s wipes legislation, the Nonwoven Disposable Products Act of 2016, which is the first wipes law in the US. The legislation requires the District’s Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) to issue rules, in consultation with NACWA Member Agency DC Water, to establish “flushability” standards for flushable wipes and labeling requirements for non-flushable wipes.
During remarks, Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, noted that “[wipes] form massive fatbergs that cause problems and sewage overflows,” and displayed photographs showing these blockages. Rep. Norton suggested that photos of the fatbergs should be sent to members of Congress to persuade them against standing in the way of the local law, according to Roll Call.
As reported previously in the Washington Post, the wipes industry is trying to block the law through the Congressional appropriations process, and a rider may be introduced in the House Appropriations Committee mark-up of the bill, scheduled for July 13. NACWA sent a letter June 22 to Rep. Norton, supporting the wipes law passed by the DC Council in December. DC Water also sent a letter supporting the bill and describing the utility’s problems that are caused by wipes. NACWA encourages its public agency members to contact their members of Congress to support the DC wipes law.
For more information or to request a template letter, please contact Cynthia Finley.