New International Flushability Standards Released .

six(June 19, 2018) - 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 on June 12. 

The specifications are an effort to curb the problem of improperly flushed consumer products, which is widespread and causes countless sewer disruptions and billions of dollars worldwide in maintenance costs every year. These costs are paid for by every day consumers through their utility bills. 

The IWSFG Publicly Available Specifications (PAS) were developed in response to evolving challenges and public affairs issues.  The PAS address the key aspects of the International Water Industry Position 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.

Additionally, the PAS include conformance to a published Code of Practice for effective labeling and communication of proper disposal methods of hygienic items used in toilet rooms. Many such items, including wipes, are single use products containing plastic that may be harmful to the marine environment.

The updated PAS, which can be downloaded online, deems a product suitable for flushing down the toilet if it meets five criteria, each of which are connected to exhaustive tests that are detailed in the PAS:

  1. Environmental protection, including a requirement for no product to contain intentional plastic fibers;
  2. Toilet and drain line clearance;
  3. Disintegration, with the test replicating hydraulic forces in sewer pipes;
  4. Settling; and
  5. Biodisintegration.

The PAS underwent two 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 wipes manufacturing organizations.  Any members with questions can contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.