Since my initial post on "Flushable" Wipes, Clogging Pipes, there have been several new developments in the "War on Wipes." NACWA has continued to work with the American Public Works Association (APWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) to address problems caused when wipes and other products that flushed into the sewer system. In July 2012, utility representatives from APWA, NACWA, and WEF met with representatives from Costco to discuss the problems with flushable products and to determine what Costco could do to help. NACWA has received reports that this meeting may have resulted in a victory for sewer systems: Costco wipes with new packaging that now include a no-flush logo have been sighted!
NACWA will confirm this exciting news once we obtain photos of the new package.
In other news, the Maine WasteWater Control Association (MWWCA) and the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) have reported to the state legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) a joint effort to address the wipes problem. Legislation requiring better labeling of products was introduced in the state legislature last year but did not pass. Instead, the ENR Committee asked INDA and MWWCA to work together on educational and other projects and to report back in a year. Although the educational efforts have stalled, a project to study the materials flowing into a pumping station was completed. The MWWCA asked the ENR Committee to continue encouraging INDA to work with MWWCA on labeling and education programs. NACWA will also be sending a letter to the Maine ENR Committee to support MWWCA's request.
Finally, NACWA compiled a list of resources on flushable wipes and other non-dispersible products. We will continue to update this list with new material. NACWA’s work was cited in a January 21 Times Herald-Record article on a pump station overflow in the Village of Chester, N.Y., that was caused by wipes. For a bit of fun, the list includes two holiday videos (from 2012 and 2011) from the Sewermen of Thames Water (London). These videos are both entertaining and educational.
Please continue to send me your contributions for this resource page—even if they don't involve singing sewer workers (although that’s always a plus!).