State & Regional Call Focuses on Advocacy Work Around Non-Flushable Wipes

(December 18, 2019) –NACWA held a conference call with its State and Regional Partners on December 17 to discuss legislative efforts to address the problem of wipes improperly flushed into sewer systems. 

During the call, Erica Spitzig from NACWA Legal Affiliate Taft Stettinius & Hollister discussed the model state legislation that NACWA is developing to address the labeling of flushable and non-flushable wipes.  Because of the legal challenge to the District of Columbia’s wipes law, NACWA is also developing a white paper to accompany the model legislation that explains the potential legal issues involved and how the model legislation avoids these issues. 

Frank Dick from NACWA Member the City of Vancouver, Wash. described how flushable wipes can be tested in real sewer systems, and how the results of these tests can be used to demonstrate why wipes legislation is needed.  The California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) is using these tests in California to support their state legislative efforts by providing evidence that nearly all wipes labeled “flushable” do not break down in real sewers. 

Utilities must spend money to remove wipes of all kinds from their systems, and a NACWA project is estimating this cost on a national and state-by-state basis.  Ken Rubin from Rubin Mallows Worldwide presented the draft results of this project.

NACWA encourages all its members and partners to consider pursuing wipes legislation in their states.  In addition to California, wipes legislation may be considered soon in Washington and Oregon.  Additional state legislative efforts will continue to pressure the wipes industry to take more responsibility for the proper disposal of their products and could eventually lead to federal solutions. 

Please contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director, Regulatory Affairs, for more information about the resources being developed by NACWA to support state legislation efforts.