NACWA sent a letter June 22 to Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s non-voting member in the House of Representatives, supporting the wipes law passed by the D.C. Council in December. NACWA member agency DC Water also sent a letter supporting the bill and describing the utility’s problems that are caused by wipes.
The wipes industry is trying to block DC’s wipes legislation, known as the Nonwoven Disposable Products Act of 2016, through the Congressional Appropriations process. Rep. Norton is aggressively pushing back on this challenge to DC’s self-government and issued a press release about the letters from NACWA and DC Water. NACWA is meeting with Members of Congress to discuss the work done by the Association on wipes, the scale of the challenge for clean water agencies and our support for the DC law.
DC’s legislation is the first in the US to address the problems caused by flushable and non-flushable wipes, requiring “do not flush” labeling for non-flushable wipes, and “flushability” standards for wipes labeled, “flushable.” NACWA, the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the American Public Works Association (APWA), the Canadian Water & Wastewater Association (CWWA), and INDA (the trade association of the nonwoven fabrics industry) have agreed on a labeling Code of Practice for non-flushable wipes, which could be used in the regulations associated with the DC wipes law. The wastewater associations have also worked with other associations around the world to develop flushability standards, which will be available for public comment next month. For any questions regarding wipes issues, contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA Director of Regulatory Affairs.