Water Sector Applauds Settlement in Wipes Litigation

The agreement marks an important step forward to ensure products marked "flushable" don't damage sewer systems

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies recently congratulated the Charleston Water System for its settlement with Kimberly-Clark Corporation regarding Cottonelle flushable wipes. Under this first ever settlement of its kind, Kimberly-Clark has agreed to ensure that its flushable wipe product will meet stringent flushability standards set forth by the International Water Services Flushability Group.

This is a significant achievement in ensuring “flushable” products actually perform as advertised and do not cause blockages in sewer systems, and NACWA commended CWS for securing this agreement.

"NACWA also acknowledges Kimberly-Clark’s commitment to meet the IWSFG standards, which is an important step forward for the wipes industry," the association stated in a press release. "This settlement demonstrates that wipes manufacturers are more than capable of meeting the standards set by the IWSFG, a consortium of international wastewater associations and operators, to ensure flushable products do not damage sewer systems."

Personal care wipes, along with a wide range of other wipe products, have caused major impacts to municipal sewer systems across the nation. These impacts can include sewer system blockages, sewer equipment failures, interference with wastewater treatment processes, the need for increased maintenance and sewer overflows. They also endanger the health and welfare of municipal wastewater personnel who are tasked with removing these blockages.

NACWA played a leading role in helping develop the IWSFG standards and its members are actively advocating for greater regulation of “flushable” products across the country. A number of states have either already passed, or a are currently considering, legislation regarding labeling of flushable products and other items that should not be flushed into sewer systems to ensure the safe use of these products and raise consumer awareness about this important issue.

"NACWA believes these legislative vehicles are critical to ensuring all manufacturers and retailers adhere equally and consistently to the IWSFG standards," the statement reads.

NACWA’s Toilets Are Not Trashcans campaign and the flush3p.org website provide additional information to utilities, consumers, regulators, manufacturers and retailers about how to reduce the amount of inappropriate materials entering municipal sewer systems.


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