The wipes industry is trying to block the District of Columbia’s wipes legislation, the Nonwoven Disposable Products Act of 2016, through the Congressional appropriations process. DC’s legislation is the first in the US to address the problems caused by flushable and non-flushable wipes. The legislation requires the District’s Department of Energy & the Environment (DOEE) to issue rules, in consultation with DC Water, to establish “flushability” standards for flushable wipes and labeling requirements for non-flushable wipes. The definition of “flushable” used in the legislation is based on the international water industry position statement on wipes, which has been endorsed by more than 300 organizations in 25 countries, including NACWA and many of its member agencies.
The Washington Post and radio station WAMU have covered the efforts of the wipes industry to target members of Congress to attach a rider to the federal Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill, and override the action of the DC Council. Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s non-voting member of Congress, has issued two press releases condemning the wipes industry for trying to block the law, and Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) specifically for considering the introduction of the rider. NACWA is communicating with members of Congress about the wipes issue, and is working to keep the wipes bill in place.